Easter is now giving way to Pentecost. All of us who trust in Jesus have been pulled from our tombs…and the breath of God has entered us. Picture God cradling a lifeless clay Adam, and then exhaling sweet, life-giving breath into that clay. Adam’s eyes open: and he looks into the face of God.
Pentecost is our celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church: the Breath of God. Jesus told the Apostles that they would make disciples of all nations [Matt 28.19-20]. Then he told them to sit tight in Jerusalem until they received the power of the Spirit from on high [Acts 1.8]. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to revive hearts and minds with faith and for building the Kingdom of God.
When reflecting on Pentecost and the miraculous gift of tongues, CFW Walther noted that the object of the outpouring of praise was what God had done…not what people had accomplished. He goes on to say that those who’ve received the Holy Spirit experience the “gift of forgetfulness”. In other words, we forget about ourselves and become engaged disciples of Jesus in his grace-ful kingdom. Though we experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, what we seek is not a religious experience, or holy entertainment. What we seek as the Spirit moves in us is to serve Jesus through serving others.
Several years ago I was leading a retreat. On the first night I shared with the group, “We’re not here just for ourselves, but to encourage one another” After a moment of quiet, one of the group members blurted, THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M HERE FOR! Though I’m happy to say that this person grew into a beautiful follower of Jesus, it underscores the me-ness of our world.
The Spirit urges us to set aside our interests in the security that God is already looking out for us. The Spirit calls each Christian into the joy and fellowship of Christ’s Body the Church, and to take up a uniquely blessed life of Kingdom-building.
Which is to say, Happy Pentecost!
Grace & Courage, dear friends…pastor greg