File this one under “What will they think of next?” Some event promoters in the UK have developed an inflatable church (www.inflatablechurch.com) that seats 60 for worship services. Designed primarily for use as a wedding chapel, it can be erected just about anywhere in less than ten minutes. You can rent it for $3,000 a day or simply buy it for about $37,000. This price does not include shipping from the manufacturer in Belgium; however it does include the cost of all the blowers and tie downs. One congregation wanted to know if they could save a few bucks by buying an inflatable church without the included blowers. They felt their pastor had plenty of hot air to accomplish the job!
We are moving into the season of Pentecost, when we celebrate the birth of the church long ago. In Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit descended upon the followers of Jesus and filled them with power and vision and hope and excitement. It lifted them up, inflated their hearts with love, knocked them over and lifted them up and sent them forth. They learned that with the power of God’s Holy Spirit at work in them great things happened. The church grew.
The recent decision of the church to affiliate with the Reconciling Ministries Network feels a lot like the work of the Holy Spirit to me. During the process of discernment, I recognized clearly that when the church relies on budgets and personnel, when it relies on structures and strategies, when it relies on the wisdom and wealth of the world, it will be weak and ineffective. But when the church takes all of those things and infuses them with the power of God’s Holy Spirit, it will change lives, transform the world, and grow mighty in number and in purpose.
What is it that holds up our congregation here at First Olympia? Is it the pastor’s preaching? Is it the choirs’ anthems? Is it the organ with all the stops pulled out? Is it the heritage of years past? Is it a glorious stained glass windows? Is it the wise investments of our endowment fund and the rainy-day savings in the bank? Is it the massive foundations that hold up the walls of the sanctuary? No! It is the power of the Holy Spirit at work among us. It must be, else we are doomed to decay and dissension and death. But if the spirit of God is set free in our midst, if we allow ourselves to be embraced by the power of God, if we allow that spirit to direct us in the way God would have us go, First Olympia will continue to be a force for transformation, a place of grace, a cathedral of hope, and a house of welcome for all of God’s children. For it is the Spirit of God that empowers our ministry of offering God in Jesus Christ to all the world.
Pray this prayer today. Pray it now.
Almighty God, pour your spirit upon me this day. Fill me with your power, grant me your vision, and send me forth with your purpose. Use me in new ways and may your kingdom grow just a bit today because of something you led me to do. Pour out your spirit upon my church, O God. Fill it with power and vision. Send it forth to build your kingdom of love and peace. Amen.
See you in church!