Day of Pentecost – Sunday, May 20, 2018

May 20, 2018  

Happy birthday Church of Christ!

Today is Pentecost, the Day of Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and followers of Jesus who were in Jerusalem. The Spirit empowered them. The Spirit filled them. The Spirit enabled them to speak to strangers in the Strangers’ languages. It was a powerful day. A day of new beginnings.

The festival of Pentecost actually began long before.

It is written in Psalm 104 You send forth your Spirit and they are created; and so you renew the face of the earth.

The Spirit of God, present in the moments of creation has been and is and will be present with us, always. The Spirit joins with God the Creator, continually creating. The Spirit of God enlivens us and our world.

We are Pentecost people! As Pentecost people we celebrate the gift of life the Spirit of God continually blows across the world’s surface, into every person’s heart. The Spirit frees us…

The festival of Pentecost was a Jewish festival long before it became the birthday of the Church. Jewish tradition suggest that, as they fled slavery, it took the Hebrew people 50 days to travel from Egypt to Mt. Sanai. After arriving at Mt. Sanai, tradition states the Hebrews waited another 50 days to receive the ten commandments from God. Pentecost was a Hebrew festival celebration of those two 50 day periods.

Freed from slavery, God was once again sovereign in the lives of the Hebrews. Bound by new laws, God was known as God and as a mighty Ruler.

Pentecost was a day of Promise for the Hebrews. Prophets like the prophet Joel spoke of the Promised Day of the Lord, anticipating a day of judgment. Joel believed God said

I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and daughters will prophecy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

Prior to Joel’s prophecy it was believed that the Spirit of God had only been given to select people, important people: judges, kings, prophets. Even then, the Spirit of God was fickle. The Spirit visited some and then left, for example,. King Saul. When King David was anointed, the Spirit was silent. The Spirit filled Samson, then left him, then returned.

Then Joel spoke, saying I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.

The Spirit would fill sons and daughters, men servants and maids. The Spirit would not discriminate.

And then it happened in Jerusalem!

When the Spirit came all the apostles were filled, all of them began speaking in other languages. All of the crowd gathered for the Hebrew festival hear other languages spoken, each of them understanding the stories of God’s mighty deeds because the stories were told in their own languages.

There was a mighty wind.

Tongues of fire rested on each person.

Everyone was bewildered, they were amazed, they wondered at what they saw.

They saw Joel’s prophecy fulfilled.

The Pentecost events was a fulfillment of God’s promise.

The Church of Christ was born.

Just as God’s Spirit freed God’s people to speak, the Spirit frees us to speak, now. The Spirit renews us. The Spirit touches us.

Each and every day God touches our lives with a spiritual, re-creative power. God gives us the power to wake each day, baptized, forgiven and renewed, loved and full of life. Full of God’s Spirited life!

May the love God gives us each and every day, and the life God renews in us each and every day empower our dreams. May we have visions for the future. May our dreams and visions be rooted in the love of Jesus our Christ, to whom the Spirit always gives glory.

We celebrate the glory of God today.

We celebrate the glory of God made known in Jesus Christ, shown to us by the power of the Spirit.

The power of the Spirit birthed a Church, The Church to which this church belongs.

We celebrate the Church’s birthday today.

We celebrate the new life we each have been and are given.

Thanks be to God!

Amen.