This week we’ve been visiting my son and his family on the west coast. When Sunday comes around we go to church. So, we did, again. I’ve been in their church often enough that some people might recognize me and might be willing to at least say ‘Hi’ to this stranger. Some churches are better at welcoming than others. And this church, like many, have a ‘meet-n-greet’ segment built right into the service! It’s where people turn around or walk around to greet people, mostly the ones they were chatting with a few minutes before, prior to the service starting.

Anyway, during the ‘meet-n-greet’ the guy in front of us turns around, shakes, my hand, doesn’t get my name, but gets my relationship with my son who is standing next to me. He says with quick grin and a nod at my son, “So you’re the one responsible for how he turned out.”

“Um, yeh, uh, mmblmmbed…” I’m not always quick with expected humorous return quip, I guess.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m proud of the way my son, and my daughter as well, ‘turned out.’ I couldn’t be more pleased at how they and their spouses are ‘training their children in the way they should go.’ I beam with pride anytime I can talk about their accomplishments. But responsible? For how they turned out?

I know, I know. The guy was just kidding around, trying to find something light, something welcoming to say to me the stranger in their midst. It was not meant to be replied to with some profound statement of admission or denial of responsibility. He wasn’t looking for secrets from the past. He wasn’t probing for insights that finally provided a glimmer of understanding about the questions people always wanted to know about my son and why he is the way he is… wink, wink. I know all that. It just got me to thinking, perhaps more than I ought, for the rest of the service.

That day it was Pentecost Sunday. A remembering, a celebration of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the church and his work in the church. The songs sung, the sermon preached all revolved around the theme of the Trinity – God the Father, Son and Spirit. It was refreshing and good to be reminded of the ways God works in our lives, in the church.

And in our families, too. “So,” the guy says to me, “You’re the one responsible…” Well, actually, I had responsibilities to be sure. For some reason, known only to the Spirit, we were all put in this place, at this time, with these people and given work to do; Kingdom – Holy Spirit directed, empowered, motivated, inspired, in-spite-of-our-feeble-efforts, whether we feel like it or not – Work.

Responsible? Me? Not really. Now that I’ve had time to think about it, I know that the heavy lifting has been work done completely by the Spirit. All of the leading, guiding, prodding, disciplining, sanctifying work has been and will continue to be Spirit work.

Pentecost. As the song says, “This is the day … that the Spirit came.” The Spirit at work in my family and yours is today’s gift!

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