Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
Day of Pentecost
Genesis 11:1-9; Acts 2:1-21; John 14:8-17, 25-27


I’d like to see a show of hands… how many of you have a birthday that falls during the summer months? I have a summer birthday. It’s in late July.

Summer birthdays are different than school-year birthdays. If you were like me, your birthday parties probably had fewer school friends, who were scattered for the summer. Instead, you’d have kids from the neighborhood pool and family. When I was young, I always wanted a school-year birthday because it seemed like they got more attention. I contend this isn’t just true for our personal birthdays, but also for the birthday of the church.

That’s what today is after all – Pentecost Sunday! The Birthday of the Church.

imageNow, unlike our birthdays which fall on the same date each year, Pentecost falls on different days because it’s always 50 days after Easter and Easter moves around. This year Easter was pretty early, so while Pentecost is usually a summer-birthday-kind-of-day, this year it’s been upgraded to a school-year birthday! So instead of a lot of folks being scattered, we’re all here to celebrate together!

We’ve got our festive red outfits on, our flamed-ribbon-sticks in-hand, a dove flying in the procession, special music – the works! It’s quite a birthday celebration for the Church!

But why is Pentecost considered the birthday of the church?

Read the rest of this entry »

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The Day of Pentecost 
Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

(Gospel text is provided at the bottom of this post)


Three years ago, as part of my seminary education, I was an intern chaplain at Grady Hospital. This Clinical Pastoral Education, as it’s called, or CPE, is a time to see what it’s like to be a hospital chaplain, and also a time to learn more about yourself, as a pastoral care giver.

NHS-hospital-ward-recepti-006The various floors and departments of the hospital are divvied up to the six chaplain interns, and my parish, if you will, was a couple of the surgical floors. Now, patients on surgical floors aren’t usually there for a long time. They’re given a room after surgery and stay just long enough to be ready to go home, or go to another rehab facility.

hospitalSo, as a chaplain on a surgical floor, I made a lot of cold-calls, popping in, introducing myself as a chaplain, and seeing if the patient or their family wanted to talk or pray. My hope for my ministry was to be one person from the hospital team that interacted with the patient without poking or prodding them. I wanted to be a presence for them in whatever way might helpful.

Sometimes my invitation was well received and other times, not so much. But, that’s the way it goes.

I remember one day in particular, near the beginning of the summer. The resident chaplain suggested I visit a patient who had actually been there for several weeks. I’ll call the patient Bill.

I learned from the other chaplain that Bill and his girlfriend had been riding together on Bill’s motorcycle. They were riding through Atlanta on their way back to New York after a vacation in Florida. They had a wreck and Bill’s hip was badly injured and his girlfriend – I’ll call her Sue – had extensive injuries including brain trauma. She was in the intensive care unit (ICU), and although Sue was still alive, after several weeks she still hadn’t regained consciousness.

They were in an unfamiliar city with family far away; in different rooms and on different floors of the hospital. Read the rest of this entry »

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