The Gift of the Holy Spirit

This past Sunday we said goodbye to the McIntosh family as they move back to Canada. This is part of the joy and sorrow of being in community, the recognition of relationships that have been forged and the sadness of saying goodbye. A departure like this also provides an opportunity for reflection and even celebration of God’s goodness. As they are sent out by us, the McIntoshes had a reflection on their experiences at COTC and an encouragement they wanted to share.
 
Hello Church of the Cross! I wanted to take a quick moment to say thank you. Since January of 2016 our family has attended COTC. This community quickly became our home and refuge in a place we never quite felt like we belonged -- Texas. Having moved here in the summer of 2015 from our long-time home of Canada, we have always felt like strangers in a foreign land here in Texas. The community at COTC welcomed us, embraced us as we were, and allowed us to utilize our talents in myriad ways. We specifically want to tell you that the collective and individual intentionality of members of this community was vitally important to our family over the past 15 months we shared together. You need to know that your ability to impact the lives of those around you who are visiting, seeking, and desiring a place of belonging is so huge. Thank you! 
 
Also, here is our admonition to you ... don't stop! Don't stop being authentic. Don't stop asking real questions. Don't stop walking across the room on Sunday to pass the peace to someone who you don't yet know. Be radically inclusive. Invite people to church who don't look like you, live like you, and may even find worshiping in an Anglican way 'a bit different.' It's such a great thing to stretch, and move the collective tent pegs of the church to wider positions, to ensure everyone is able to partake together in the journey of faith in Christ. We love you, and we like you COTC! :-D
 
You 'took a risk' on our crazy Canadian family, and we are better for it. Thank you so much from our hearts to yours. We will always cherish our time in community with you all.

 
I’m grateful to Eric and Emily for these thoughts, your admonishment reminds of this recent article by Karen Swallow Prior. Let’s continue on in pressing into the life of community, and let’s keep the McIntoshes in prayer, especially in these next weeks of transition.
 
This coming Sunday is Pentecost! As a church we will celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, the presence of the living God, with and in the church. As a friend of mine has said “you cannot get closer than ‘in.’” Those who are in Christ have the presence of God with and in them, regardless of their background, education, and ethnicity. It is this presence that makes the church one and empowers us in service and ministry to the world.
 
This Sunday, to celebrate the gift of the Spirit, I encourage you to wear red! This is a traditional practice in line with the liturgical color for this day, as a sign of the tongues of fire that descended upon the apostles at Pentecost. Also, please join us following the service for a potluck, bring a dish that represents your roots in some way.
 
In Christ,
 
Peter+

Peter Coelho