Forgotten Birthdays!

Have you ever mixed up the dates of another person's birthday? Sent the card either long before, or long after the date at which it was to be celebrated? Last year I received email in June from a number of people congratulating me on my 40th birthday - some three months late. It turns out that they received notification of the celebrations, posted in March, only that day, and were sending electronic congratulations. The interesting aspect of this is that the notification was sent to them, by email, in March. Must use the same postal system as ordinary mail!!

It is nice to be remembered, even if people do occasionally get the date wrong. In that sense, the celebration of life need not be limited to the particular day on which we were born. What is important is being remembered.

A number of people have observed that we celebrated Pentecost a week earlier than other churches. Rather than claim that we were right and everyone else was wrong, I am happy to admit the mistake. The truth of what we celebrated is not diminished by an error of calculation. In seeking to be the church today, we need to celebrate what it is that makes us the church, and how those principles apply as we seek to seek its continual rebirth in this local community.
Pentecost, like every other festival of the church, is not something that is to be confined to one day of the year: the coming of God's Spirit into our lives is not confined by times or seasons, but an expectation we can hold for every moment. Similarly, Easter is not the only time of year to anticipate the power of resurrection, or experience the grace of forgiveness: it has been opened to us in every time and place. Christmas is not the be-all and end-all of the coming of Jesus to us: he comes in every moment, and we are invited to anticipate the ultimate return at the consummation of time.

In one sense, a mistake was made. In another sense, a deeper truth is to be celebrated: that God is not limited by our times and seasons, but acts and wills according to His purposes and timetable.

In my experience, God often interrupts our schedules and plans with beautiful moments far greater than anything we could have orchestrated. Are you watching for one (or more) today?

June 18, 2000
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