“Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday dear church. Happy Birthday to you.”
That’s right — just like you and me — the church has a birthday.
This Sunday — PENTECOST — is the church’s birthday. Pentecost, which comes 50 days after Easter, is the celebration of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to those early disciples who were gathered in Jerusalem waiting for the promise of Jesus to be fulfilled.
Jesus had promised that God would send another to be their helper. (John 14.16-18) At Pentecost God fulfilled that promise – the Holy
Spirit was sent upon those disciples and God began a whole new thing – the church — a community of faith!
Those early followers experienced the Holy Spirit as the rush of a mighty wind and a flame which settled on each of them. They also experienced the abilities to do whatever was needed even to the extinct of speaking in languages they had never learned — and maybe had never even heard before.
The gift of God’s spiritual presence enlivened the disciples and the community of the church into a whole new sphere of existence! The Spirit of God which had empowered the body of Jesus now has a new body — the community of faith referred to as church!
The Spirit of God which had been in Jesus now has a new body – the church. This is why the church is known as “Corpus Christi” – the Body of Christ. Now instead of being limited to one physical body, the Holy Spirit is fleshed in thousands and thousands of communities of faith and millions and millions of believers!
From that moment on, the living, breathing community of faith has attempted to live in the world in ways which demonstrate God’s love and care for all people.
Today every community and every Christian is challenged and empowered to “BE” Christ everywhere.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that every follower of Christ possesses gifts, abilities and talents so they can serve God and people in love. (1 Corinthians 12.4-20) In this same passage Paul also reminds us that there are many different gifts for the people, but each of them is given by the same Spirit so the whole church can work together just as all of the parts of a body work together. Each gift is important and every gift is needed to carry out the ministries of Christ.
For us, this Sunday is an opportunity to reflect on several questions.
First, “Who are we as a community of faith?”
Second. “Who am I as a member of this community of faith?”
Third, “What message of God’s love does this community have to share today?”
Finally, “What is my part in sharing that message?” “Which gift(s) will I use to serve God and people?”
It is my prayer that we will grow in our openness to the spiritual presence of God in our lives — and that openness will enable our continuing growth as God’s people — doing God’s work!
© 2020 Wes Morgan