I remain amazed at the kind of people with whom Jesus chose to be associated and whom he intentionally gathered around Him. He did not desire to hang out with the hypocritical, the self-righteous and the sanctimonious. He realized that those who felt they had it all together, had no real need of Him. Therefore, He deliberately chose to hang out with the down-and-out, the downcast, the downtrodden and the displaced. In fact Jesus plainly said it “. . . They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick” (Luke 5:31). This is recorded by all the Synoptic gospels. Luke 15:1 is also very telling. It states that “All the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near to listen to Him” (Luke 15:1 NASB). Instead of running away from Him and seeking to avoid Him, the sinners, all the sinners came out to hear Him. They felt drawn to Him. They were attracted to Him and the message He came to represent and to preach. His spirituality attracted them.
As He was, so we are called to be in the world. Jesus said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). He pointedly states, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5:32). It is the unsaved and the ungodly who desperately need our message, especially in these apocalyptic times of social unrest and during the time of this dreadful Coronavirus pandemic, that has already claimed over 100,000 lives right here in these United States. May God help us always to remember the last, the least and the lost as Jesus always, persistently did.
On this Pentecost Sunday, may this Church of God never lose sight of her God-given mandate and commission, and if we have, may we recoup and recover it with compelling urgency. Let us keep in mind that this is exactly why the Spirit came at Pentecost, not just to give us good feelings as we speak in tongues, running the aisles, but to fully equip us with dynamic power for a world-wide evangelistic campaign of rescuing and salvaging lost humanity. May we like Jesus cultivate a spirituality that is refreshingly attractive and not one that is repulsive, unattractive, judgmental, and abhorrent to the Almighty and the neighbors we are sent to reach and who so desperately need our message.
Jesus deliberately went after lost souls like Zacchaeus, the woman of Samaria, Mary Magdalene (out of whom went 7 devils), the blind, the dumb, the deaf, the lame, sick people, his pitiful disciples and all of us. These were the people He constantly hung out with and sought after – the real and interesting people! He loved being around them and in turn, thy felt blessed and privileged to be around Him. The misfits, the riff-raffs, the rejected, the despised, the outcasts, the marginalized and the left-behinds – were continually saved and drawn to his revival campaign.
On this Pentecost Sunday, I feel constrained to call upon this church to do the same! Like our Lord and Master, the church must plain refuse to turn any way. We must become a hospital for the sick, an asylum for the weary, a home for the homeless and a refuge for the needy. I believe this is the Church’s finest hour! May we become even more spiritually engaged, proclaiming and seeking salvation and shalom for all. Like Jesus, our spirituality must be infectious, life-affirming and life-transforming.
Leroy V. Greenaway – Presiding Bishop NER
In collaboration with our District Overseers, the Church of God of Prophecy submits to the wisdom of continuing to ‘Shelter in Place’ for the safety and protection of the flock. This is to be observed until further notice and the present virus is better contained. Should the need arise to meet, we are advised to meet in groups of no more than 10, while we strictly observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing of masks and aggressive sanitizing of our hands and surfaces frequently touched.
Please let us patiently observe these practices to keep each other safe and alive. We are reminded that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. Stay home! Stay Healthy! Stay Hopeful! We shall soon get through this! Premature re-openings of our churches seem not to be the wisest way to go at this point. Let us continue to pray, caring for each other and staying connected.
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional, Presiding Bishop — Northeast Region