Dear Fremont Family:
Pentecost is coming. It’s not this Sunday, 5/21, but next Sunday, 5/28. I would say, “get ready,” but when it comes to Pentecost, I am not sure that we can. How does a community get ready for something so transformational as life in the Spirit? Certainly, the first disciples weren’t ready, even though Jesus had already spoken to them about the arrival of the Holy Spirit “not long from now.”
There they all were gathered in Jerusalem just as Jesus had told them to be, when the Spirit burst in and gave the disciples the ability to speak and be understood in different languages. It was wild, and it was just the beginning. The disciples would go on to do many more amazing things in the power of the Holy Spirit. And, every year, we are invited to consider, what does life in the Spirit look like for us right here and right now?
Some of you may know that I have been the PTA President this year for Beaumont Middle School. What you may not know is the reason why I agreed to the position. I volunteered to lead the PTA because I speak Spanish. Beaumont is a Middle School with a Spanish Immersion program and has many Spanish-speaking families from the Cully neighborhood. The PTA at Beaumont, however, has always been predominantly led by English speaking parents from Alameda. The school has been working on bridging the divide between the two communities.
The barriers between the two groups are real. There are language barriers and socio-economic barriers that prevent the two groups from being able to be in full community with one another. But, this year, we made it our focus to intentionally try to cross some of those barriers. In particular, in March, the PTA was able to show up for several Spanish speaking families that were being threatened with eviction from their homes at a place called El Rancho on NE 72nd.
Through solidarity with each other and through pressure from the larger community, the PTA came alongside several Beaumont families and worked together to keep them in their housing. The photos above depict our action together, and the unity it created by doing something powerful alongside one another. I made this (basic) piece of art as a part of our Parish Collective gathering (*tribute to Jenn Mannhard for the image in the middle) and as a way to celebrate that even now, the Spirit gives us power to speak and be understood in different languages.
When it comes to Pentecost, there really is no telling what will happen, but one thing we can be sure of, the Spirit is coming to us, and we should be ready to receive her.
Grace and peace,