The upshot of Pentecost is that the Spirit-filled disciples drew a diverse crowd of people representing many different nations. Scripture tells us, they were “amazed and astonished” to hear the disciples speaking to them, each in his own language. “They asked one another what it all meant.” Some thought that they had been “drinking too much new wine.” Then the Apostle Peter spoke, “These men are not drunk … On the contrary, this is what the prophet spoke of: In the days to come it is the Lord who speaks. I will pour out My Spirit on all humankind” (Acts 2:17). And from that day forward, the beloved, joy-filled disciples of Christ have been preaching and teaching the Word of God – building daily the Church of Jesus Christ; proclaiming God’s Good News of Jesus Christ –all over the world.
The Church is eternal, but these days some are beginning to wonder if it will survive. I believe in my heart the church will live because we worship a living God. A God that gives us life and nurtures our lives by Word and Sacrament though the body of Christ.
Yes, it lives!
The Church will live even though nations rise and fall – yet it lives!
Kings, dictators and presidents come and go-yet it lives!
Torn, condemned, burned-yet it lives!
Hated, despised, cursed-yet it lives!
Doubted, suspected, criticized-
yet it lives!
Mocked by non-believers-yet it lives!
Misconstrued, misstated, misunderstood-yet it lives!
Ranted and raved over-yet it lives!
Denied and denounced — yet it lives!
It lives as a lamp unto our feet,
as a light to our paths,
as a standard for childhood,
as a guide for youth,
as an inspiration to the matured,
as a comfort to the aged,
It lives as food for the hungry,
as water for the thirsty,
as rest for the weary,
as light for the lost,
as salvation for the sinner,
as the source of our hope,
as the cause of our joy!
The trials and tribulations of the Apostle Paul were immense. He was beaten, time and again. He was stoned. He was imprisoned. He was ridiculed. He was misunderstood, even by those who loved him most. In addition, there were the massive social problems that he and others faced during his lifetime: thousands of people in abject slavery; thousands of people in situations of dire poverty; hundreds of Christians dying violent deaths, simply because they were Christians. And yet, during it all, Paul writes again and again to his little congregations, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice.” Even to people who were about to die for Christ, Paul said “Rejoice!”
The Day of Pentecost is June 9. Come to church and join in the rejoicing. May you reap the blessings from our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Rejoice! Again I say, love one another, and rejoice!