| By Fr. Dwight Ezop

Rays of Hope in Flint

Just a few weeks ago, we celebrated the great feast of Pentecost, recalling the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. With the manifold gifts of the Spirit, the disciples, once filled with fear and huddled away behind locked doors, become the Apostles. They are sent, with the gifts of the Spirit, to share those gifts. The power of the Spirit literally blows the doors off the room where they were gathered. Emboldened by the Spirit, speaking many human languages, the Apostles move out on mission into a world that hungers for the Good News. They move out of fear and hiding, into the light of day. Their words, prompted by the Spirit, are the words of God's mercy and peace, words of healing and grace, words that God uses to turn the world upside down. With these words, the lowly are raised up, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the mute speak, and those who once dwelt in darkness receive the gift of God's own marvelous light. God uses the words and actions of the Apostles to transform the face of the earth. God uses the words and actions of the Apostles to change the hearts of women and men, one person at a time.

The Church at its beginnings made use of the gifts and power of the Spirit to transform the world. The Church in our own time, and in our own place, in our own diocese, is in desperate need of those same Spirit-driven words and works that will continue to transform our world into God's kingdom.

Last year at this time, we used the spotlight of FAITH magazine to shine a light on the problems faced by our sisters and brothers in Flint. Caught in so many currents, the people of Flint had been tossed about for years, trying to weather a storm beyond imagination. Soon, people from all around our diocese began to rally in so many varied ways to bring aid and comfort, healing and hope. Then the water crisis happened.

For months, the plight of the people of Flint became a national story. Satellite trucks and correspondents roamed the city, seeking to bring to light the city's need for safe, drinkable water. As expected, that attention is beginning to quickly fade. The stories about Flint have receded from national and international headlines to occupy instead the headlines of a few statewide and local papers. Such is the reality of what's called the "news cycle": as we make our way deeper into the political season, the prominence of Flint's needs will fade from national awareness. But those needs will not go away.

And so we begin another year of sharing stories of faith from Flint and the Faith in Flint initiative that Bishop Boyea has helped to lead. Take some time to read the stories of what has happened in just 365 days. Where once there may have been fear and uncertainty, there are now rays of hope. The Pentecost event of almost 2,000 years ago is a living reality as we seek to continue to assist the people of Flint. Let us pray that the Spirit will continue to embolden and empower, encourage and enlighten, so that the goodness of God may be seen and shared in all places, especially in Flint, where the needs are so great and the possibilities are even greater.

And so, our journey in FAITH continues.