How Are You Celebrating this Birthday?
It is sometimes said that Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. Prior to this time, the disciples and apostles followed Jesus in person. They were with Him, watching and learning, preparing for a future that they had no idea was coming. But now they (and we!) are the Church, the Body of Christ!
Among all the truths that Pentecost brings to us are two that I want to draw special attention to today. Pentecost reminds us that the church is so much more than just another club. There are many clubs that we join for various interests — boating, golfing, knitting, playing cards, reading novels, etc. The Church is not just a religious club — the Church is the living, breathing Body of Christ! If we are just a religious club, we’re no better than lots of other clubs.
Second, and flowing from the first, the church is not dependent on you and me. We are dependent on the Holy Spirit of God. That does not mean we toss it off to the Spirit. The Lord does not work like a parent who tells a 5 year old to clean their room, then comes along afterwards to fix what was left amiss. God promises us the Holy Spirit to guide, to strengthen, to give us the gifts needed for what He intends for us to accomplish. But we still have to get up and do it! Another pastor I knew had a sign in his office: “Pray as if everything depends on God. Work as if everything depends on you.” Pretty good advice, I think.
Prior to Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God, was given only to special, selected individuals: prophets, kings, etc. Now the Holy Spirit is promised to all who turn to Jesus! No longer can we look to someone else, some specially anointed one, to do the work. We are each given the Spirit and we are each part of the Body! Are you doing your part?
The column appeared in the May 23, 2021 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
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