Yesterday was not just a normal day it was our birthday. Although on this birthday of the Church we were not able to attend in person, it is important that we still celebrate for God, the world and ourselves.
Pentecost is the birthday of the church. The church was born on that day so long ago when the followers of Jesus were meeting in Jerusalem and the Holy Spirit descended upon them. What a birthday party that must have been! What a celebration they had. It was exciting! The people there were rejoicing. It was a wild and reckless time as they were filled with the Spirit of God. Onlookers thought they were drunk but it was not wine that made them so happy. It was joy they felt at the birth of God’s church. From that day the birth of the church grew. It spread outward throughout the world, into every valley and plain, across every mountain range, even across the oceans, into every country, into suburbs and slums, into cities and countryside. And everywhere it went it, proclaimed Christ and the message of God’s great love. And it made the world a better place. It changed people’s lives. It changed my life and I trust that it has changed your life too.
The church is still alive
The Spirit of God still fills the hearts of Christians every day and probably now more so than ever. We can be assured that the promises made to those early followers of Jesus are yet to be fulfilled. God’s love is as real today as it was nearly two thousand years ago when tongues of fire danced about the heads of those who had been touched by God and filled with God’s Spirit. Birthdays are a good time to evaluate where you have been, where you are, and where you are going with your life. There are special ones of course; when you are young and then as you get older the goalpost moves accordingly. Fortunately, although on this birthday of the church there are signs of sickness, there are also positive signs that point to a church that is still very much alive.
Power of prayer
The prayers of people like us keep the church alive. They are restoring people to health, meeting people in their moment of need. The church’s well-being is evident wherever people care about each other. Prayer in action, people loving one another as Christ loved us; that is a sure sign of life in the church. It is apparent in our ‘Trust’ I see it every day in many ways. I see it especially in the way individuals respond to another’s need. The greatest sign of a church’s vitality is when that church understands its purpose. Through prayer, through fellowship and the ministry of caring, through offering Christ in everything we do, we say to the world that the church born on Pentecost is not dead. The church that is built on the foundation of prayer, that cares for people in the Spirit in which Christ cared, that knows its purpose of sharing Christ was given to them by God, that Church is alive and will never die.
Let us celebrate!
What makes a church special is exactly what made the first Pentecost special. Enthusiasm! The church, planted on that first Pentecost, started small. We can learn from their experience. We can learn that numbers are not important. Money is not important. Buildings are not important. But enthusiasm is. Wherever people come to God in prayer, wherever compassion and caring are shared with a brother or sister, wherever the love of Christ is proclaimed as the overriding and all-consuming purpose in life, there is God’s Church. How will the people know that the church is still alive? They will know because you will tell them. You who are enthused with the love of God, you who pray and care and proclaim Christ, you will tell them. You will tell them with your lives, with your deeds and with your words, that God came to earth and loved us, all of us, and that no matter what we’ve done, God will always love us, and that if we will only ask, God will live in us and we will live in him. That is what Pentecost is all about.
Yesterday was not just another day. It was our birthday. Celebrate it. Celebrate it for God. Celebrate it for the world. Celebrate it for yourself.