Pastor’s ponderings

This Sunday, June 5th, is Pentecost.  According to the Christian calendar, Pentecost took place 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection and 10 days after his ascension into heaven.  It was on Pentecost that the Christian church was “born.” On that day, the disciples’ message about Jesus was heard by the multitude of people that were gathered in Jerusalem and 3,000 people came to believe in Christ.

            But this got me to thinking – for 10 days the disciples were alone.  For 10 days they did not have Jesus or the Holy Spirit to guide them.  What do you think they did during that time?  Jesus had told them in remain in Jerusalem until they had “been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49, NRSV).  They were “to wait there for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4); the promise that they would “be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5).  For 10 days the disciples waited for the Holy Spirit’s presence in their lives.

            I think many people still are waiting for the Spirit’s presence in their lives today; waiting in hopeful expectation of the promise of power from on high that may rescue them from a variety of circumstances or empower them for some sort of ministry.  Sure, they have received Jesus as their Savior, they were baptized and became a part of the church, but there is also where the waiting began, the hopeful expectation of receiving the Spirit’s guidance in the matter.  Yet, do we recall Jesus’ instruction? 

The Great Commission implores us when making disciples that we should be “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mtw 28:19).  The Holy Spirit was present and a part of our baptism, just as the Spirit was present at Jesus’ baptism.  And, most baptismal services also include the invocation of the Spirit is a precious part of the ceremony.  Laying hands upon the newly baptized Christian, the pastor declares, “The Holy Spirit work within you, that being born through water and the Spirit, you may be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.  Amen.” (UMC Baptismal Covenant).  Baptism is not just of water, but also of the Spirit.  Our baptism is also our Pentecost, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and ministry as individuals and the collective Body of Christ.  We, too, have been empowered to do a great many things in the name of Jesus, just as those early disciples did.

So, no more waiting!  The time has come.  We have been empowered by the Spirit to go forth and do a great many things.  God’s promise has been fulfilled, so let us keep our end of the covenant in return.

                                                                        Always pondering,

                                                                        Pastor Steve

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