May 2013

Post date: May 01, 2013 4:1:8 PM

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! We greet each other with this wonderful news throughout the Easter season. Easter is much more than one day. In the church we get to celebrate Easter for a full 50 days: 7 weeks: a week of weeks. Truth is, as Christians we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus every day. We are always Easter people. For a little over half of May we are in the season of Easter this year.

On Sunday May 19th we celebrate the third major festival of the church year: Pentecost. Pentecost is often called the birthday of the Christian church. Red, for the Holy Spirit, is the color of the day. So I invite everyone to wear something red to the birthday party. “Pentecost” simply means 50. In the Jewish calendar Pentecost was a harvest festival of early summer and was celebrated 50 days after Passover. Over time it also came to be a celebration of God’s giving of the 10 commandments on Mt. Sinai. Christians celebrate Pentecost 50 days after Easter and mark it as the gift of the Holy Spirit to all believers in Jesus Christ. Acts 2:2-4 says, “And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”

Those doing the speaking were all Galileans. The ability to speak in known languages other than one’s own and yet be understood perfectly well by others, which is the case at Pentecost, is different from the ecstatic speech (speaking in tongues) described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:1-25. As Paul himself makes clear, “For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them.” (1 Cor. 14:2) Whereas in Acts, the scene is exactly the opposite: “And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?” (Acts 2:8) Devout Jews from many different countries and languages were able to understand the message about God’s deeds of power.

Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the followers of Jesus were able to share with other people the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Peter, who certainly waffled in his loyalty to Jesus before, now boldly proclaims the good news: “Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21) Peter sees the Pentecost miracle as the fulfillment of what the prophet Joel spoke: “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my spirit upon ALL flesh.”

The Holy Spirit is given to “all flesh”: to every believer in Jesus Christ. At baptism everyone is given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Granted, it may take years for many of us to discover and put to use our many and varied talents from the Spirit. But you do have the Holy Spirit; or, more accurately, the Holy Spirit has you. You and I are not “Pentecostal Christians”, but we are all “Pentecost Christians.” That is, we are all empowered by the Holy Spirit to share with others in word and deed the love and salvation of Jesus Christ.

Serving Jesus with you,

Pastor Dennis