Pentecost Vigil honors church's multivoice identity

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”  Acts 2:1-4 (NRSV) Pentecost banner

Pentecost, celebrated 50 days after Easter, recalls the Holy Spirit’s descent upon Jesus’ followers and is often called the birthday of the church.  The community of the Episcopal Church in eastern Massachusetts will gather with Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE and Bishop Gayle E. Harris for a Pentecost Vigil on Saturday, May 18, 7-9 p.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (138 Tremont Street) in Boston.  All are welcome. 

The Rev. Ema Rosero-Nordalm, a deacon and missioner for Hispanic ministries in the diocese, is one of the vigil’s organizers and shares this reflection:

At the heart of any change, we find the constant movement and actions of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the consoler, Christ in us, the giver of life, the enabler of all creative moment and process. It is the inspiration behind our dreams and desires, the joyful companion of our spiritual elation and gratitude we experience in our soul when those desired dreams become a reality. When we realize we are being transformed by events in our lives, the Spirit is moving and acting.

The whole planning process for the diocesan Pentecost Vigil—Saturday evening, May 18 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston—has been an experience of the movements of the Spirit. We have designed a Pentecost service which will honor our multicultural, multivoice identity as a church, as well as our charge to examine our commitment to one another, immigrant and nonimmigrant.

At the center of this vigil is the invitation to gather as members and friends of our diocese, to celebrate the completion of the Easter season and await the arrival of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit offers us a unique opportunity to fervently pray in our many voices and with love and compassion to listen to testimonies, to sing hymns in different languages and to commit to work for change. God’s all-embracing love makes us aware of the many different groups affected by immigration issues. At the Pentecost Vigil we will pray for immigration reform; the vigil is also an opportunity to embrace each other, rejoicing in our wealth of diversity while uniting our voices as one body.  It invites us to share the love of Christ and the desire to always be ready to listen with an open heart, so as to bring change while experiencing being transformed by the Holy Spirit, Christ in us, the source of all wisdom.

--Excerpted from “Listening to the Holy Spirit for Change and Transformation:  Preparing for Pentecost” by the Rev. Ema Rosero-Nordalm, which appeared in the Easter/Pentecost 2013 issue of
Listening for God published by the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston

PHOTO:  St. Peter’s Church, Beverly Pentecost banner, 2012