Pentecost in the 21st Century
May 19, 2015
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. (Acts 2:1-6, RSV)
Easter is almost seven weeks behind us and next Sunday is the celebration of Pentecost, the arrival of the Holy Spirit with transforming power.
Last weekend, I was in Shawnee, Kansas, for the meeting of the Trustees of Central Baptist Theological Seminary and for graduation. The events included the installation of Dr. Samuel Park as director of the Korean Program. The service was spoken partly in English and partly in Korean; the words were displayed on the screen in both languages, so each read in his own native language. On Saturday, we graduated the largest class the Seminary has ever graduated. It included Burmese graduates from the Myanmar Institute of Theology, who completed the D.Min. program at Central, Korean students receiving a ministry certificate, who studied at satellite campuses in Minnesota and Tennessee, Euro-American and African-American students receiving M.Div. and D.Min degrees for their studies in Shawnee and Nashville. Dr. Roy Medley, General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA spoke. The Holy Spirit infused the whole weekend. President Molly Marshall commented that this weekend was as close to Pentecost as many of us will see.
She may be right, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had an invasion of our churches by the Holy Spirit, as on Pentecost. A church full of excited, enthusiastic people. People on fire to share the Gospel. People who care enough about each other to share their possessions. People whose lives are permanently changed. Lives producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. Not insisting on rights, but focusing on helping others. Can’t this happen in all our churches? It can, when we sincerely invite the Spirit into our midst, and give the power of the Spirit the control of our lives.
Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on us.
Prayer: Triune God, our people and our churches today need the presence of your Holy Spirit, the Counseler promised by Christ, as much as the early church needed it. Bless your church this day. Open our hearts to the indwelling of your Spirit and help us to allow the Spirit’s power to fill our lives and direct all our actions. Make our churches full of the fruit of the Spirit. We pray in the name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
Ministry & Mission Coach