Walking with Jesus: Pentecost

 
Pentecost Sunday

Come, Holy Spirit, Come! on Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the Birth of the Church with the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The lectionary readings for this Sunday are: Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:24-34, 35b, 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13, John 7:37-39

Ken Willard
Midland South District

What’s the “origin story” of your church? I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with churches all over the country. One of the many things I’ve learned along the way is the power of a church’s origin story. The story is always different, but it is amazing to me how powerful those stories are and how they usually focused on a small group of people sacrificing in some way to reach more people for God’s Kingdom.

That is what we read about in Acts 2. The Holy Spirit filling a group of people and empowering them to speak to everyone around them in their own language. That’s what each of us is called to do today in our own communities, to speak to those around us as one of their own. Not as foreigners, but as neighbors. Maybe language is not the barrier. Maybe the barrier is socioeconomic, or skin color, or education level, or hundreds of other things that seem to divide us all these days. What gives us the power to do this? The Holy Spirit! The same Spirit that filled the original apostles is in us.

On our trip to the Holy Land we were able to visit The Cenacle in Jerusalem which some claim to be the location of the Last Supper and Pentecost. The space was filled with people. The walls, and columns, the floor and ceiling had all certainly been changed over the years. But I could still feel a special sense of God’s Spirit being present in that room. Peter preached to a crowd of people here quoting from Joel and David. At the end of his message about three thousand people were baptized and brought into the community. That’s a fruitful message!

Yes, we were walking with Jesus. But we were also walking with those he empowered to be his bride. Being in that space was a good reminder for me that we are the church. Buildings are not the church, people are the church.

My discipleship journey has taken me to be a part of several churches in three different states. I’ve been a member of old churches and brand-new churches. Churches that worship in a more “traditional” style with pews, hymnals, and a choir. And churches who worship in a very “contemporary” style with chairs, screens, and a band. All the churches I’ve been a member, and all of the churches I’ve worked with over the years can trace their history back to the first church which was born in Acts 2.

Happy birthday church! May we celebrate and be filled with the Holy Spirit to continue to bring people into God’s community of believers.