Celebrate the birth of God’s chosen vessel
Published 12:59 am Saturday, May 30, 2020
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:1-4 NIV
This coming Sunday, the worldwide church will celebrate its centuries old birth. There are amazing facets to the events and the people involved when the Spirit came like tongues of fire.
For the church in 2020, this is an important time and opportunity to establish once again our mission, purpose, and vision. Most importantly, the church can once again intentionally exist and work through the full power of the Holy Spirit.
It was not by accident or coincidence the timing of this divine event. Jews from all over the Roman Empire were present in Jerusalem for the celebration of the Feast of Shavuot. This feast, know to us by its Greek name Pentecost which means 50th day, was the 50th day since Passover and commemorated the Lord giving the Law to Israel and the year’s wheat harvest.
There would have been thousands of out of town Jews there at the time, folks whose native tongues were vast. Again, this divine event and the people involved was not an accidental occurrence.
In the coming of the Holy Spirit, the believers in the resurrection and Messiahship of Jesus were transformed from simply having faith in Christ to empowerment to do the work and mission of His kingdom. The believers were transformed from a cloistered, homogeneous congregation to a sent and widespread evangelizing force. The believers were transformed from those being taught to those doing the teaching. The church was birthed in the same upper room where Jesus and His disciples had their last supper and where He appeared to them after the resurrection. The church was birthed as the believers waited and prayed for the promise of Christ.
It is time for us to celebrate the birth of God’s chosen vessel for proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom. It is time for the church to begin to gather again in the same place, worship together and remind one another that the church was never closed. Even more, it is time for the church to once again exist and work in the full power of the Holy Spirit, united by the cross and empty tomb of Jesus Christ, intentionally seeking to be the very embodiment of God’s reconciliation to and in the World. Friends, it is TIME for the church to be the church.
Our world is in chaos. This will never change, but the church can change. We can stop the division, hurts and unreconciled relationships that we have learned to tolerate. God’s only plan for the proclamation of the Gospel is the church and He has given us everything we need to do this job, most importantly the Holy Spirit.
This weekend as we celebrate Pentecost, I cannot help but to think about wars, rumors of wars, pandemics, murder, and racial tension. I beg us all on behalf of Christ, let us not be part of the problem, but let us be part of the redemptive, gracious, and healing work of Jesus through His body the Church!
Happy Birthday Church, you are alive and well and there is nothing that can ever defeat you!
That is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.