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‘Jesus Is Really, Really Real’

The Rev. Yejide Peters Pietersen, director of formation at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University, spoke with affection for Jesus and the Holy Spirit during the daily Eucharist on June 26.

“You never forget the first time you fall in love with Jesus,” said the Rev. Yejide Peters Pietersen, who is also an associate dean at the divinity school.

“I remember my first time. I was in a big tent with thousands of people. All around, people were raising their hands and holding their rosaries and singing. They sang ‘Jesus is coming.’”

She found herself agreeing, prompting her conversion, which she described as “a change in your life. It’s the beginning of things and you can’t go back. Jesus is really, really real.”

Pietersen, a priest since 2008, has served at churches in Richmond, Virginia; Briarcliff, New York; and Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.

In gatherings like General Convention, “We come out with something that is new with a clarity and understanding that can only come from the Holy Spirit,” Pietersen said. “We must grasp onto those things from God, and the only way is to pray.

“Let the power of the Holy Ghost fall on us,” she said. “May God’s anointing fall upon us. May you take seriously this holy charge of God.”

Believing “we’re at a pivotal point,” she said, “It’s not just about the people in this room. It’s about a larger reality of what we are. We need to speak the good news to the poor, recovery of sight to those blinded by hatred.”

Pietersen continued to enthusiastic agreement, “The earth is crying out. It is scorched with the suffering with what we have brought upon us,” which is “against Jesus’ will; against Jesus, crucified by a colonial government.”

Even so, “We are not in a self-improvement project. We are in a project being remade by the Holy Spirit. We are getting our house in order. We are setting things right so we can go out in the world.”

“We have to be careful, saints. It’s tough out there.”

In concluding, she had the congregation stand and repeat after her: “God, we thank you. God, we bless you. God, you are good. Come, Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Prayers, songs, and readings at the morning Eucharist were in Spanish, English, and other languages. The various languages for intercessions were Portuguese, Creole, and French.

The Rev. Canon Connie Sanchez of Honduras, who presided, prayed in Spanish.

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