April / May 2017 - Vol. 91

illustration of heart

A New Heart and Call to Ecumenism and Building Communities
by Dorothy Ranaghan

In March of 1967 the word boredom disappeared from my vocabulary. There was and is no time to be bored, because the Spirit poured out on us then was a Spirit of boldness and power!

As we approach the golden jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, it is important to remember that we have been swept up in one of the greatest works of the Spirit in history. That is not my hyperbole speaking, it is just the simple and profound truth. To quote Pope Saint John Paul II, “The charismatic renewal is an eloquent manifestation, a bold statement of what the Spirit is saying in the church.” If the figures we have are accurate, there are over 150 million Roman Catholics in over 120 countries that have experienced baptism in the Holy Spirit.

One of the most significant works of the Spirit that we have seen is the movement towards authentic Christian community. Whether it is in the loosely structured small Christian community concept in parishes or the highly organized Catholic and ecumenical covenant communities, there has been an impetus, a call, a desire to build community. And it is very often within these communities that the gifts of the Spirit remain most in evidence.

Most importantly, there is a new heart and hope for ecumenism. Not just for theological doctrinal dialogue, but what is known as the ecumenism of relationships, a “spiritual” ecumenism. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an “ecumenical grace” for the church. Wall of separation, division and suspicion began to crumble in the wake of this Pentecostal outpouring whose origins were thoroughly ecumenical. We have come to know that from the many streams of Christianity we are already significantly one and are called to deepen that reality.

The best is yet to come. The Spirit is saying, “go out, preach the gospel, heal the sick, change the world.” And as the Anglican theologian N.T. Wright so beautifully put it, “The announcement of Jesus as Lord of the whole world which all Christians since Pentecost are mean to announce, meets the resistance of economic, social, cultural and above all political forces of the wider world. But the Spirit given to us is greater than this resistance so that God’s work may be done through us.” It is not, Wright says, just that God intends that the Spirit will declare that the world is in the wrong, but that it is “we, trembling, but in the power of the Holy Spirit who will make that declaration.” Let those who have ears…

This article was first published in PENTECOST Today Magazine, Spring 2015 Issue, Volume 40 Number 2. Used with permission.

Dorothy Ranaghan is a founding member of the People of Praise.a charismatic, ecumenical and covenant community with 22 locations in the US, Canada and the Carribean. She is married to Kevin Ranaghan, and has six children and twelve grandchildren.

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