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Pentecost & Post-General Conference Debriefing

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly, from heaven came a sound like the rush of a violent wind filling the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” (Acts 2:1-4, NRSVue)

This Sunday, we will celebrate Pentecost, the miraculous manifestation of the Holy Spirit that captivated Jesus’ anxious disciples hiding out in the Upper Room fifty days after Jesus first appeared to them following his resurrection. Jesus previously told the disciples that they needed to wait for the Holy Spirit to give them power before they tried to do any more ministry. Although they had no idea what Jesus meant when he said it, on the day of Pentecost, Jesus’ words became clear when the Spirit showed up as it did—with rushing winds and fiery tongues. The Holy Spirit compelled the disciples to hit the streets, sharing the good news of Jesus’ resurrection and preaching about the release of his Holy Spirit. The people gathered for another religious festival were initially resistant but then responsive to their message. Over 3,000 people believed in Jesus and his resurrection that day.

Pentecost is a celebration of the diversity of the church as the disciples share the good news. Acts 2 teaches that people from all over the region were present that day, representing various nationalities and languages, and the Holy Spirit drew them together. The scripture says these foreigners declared,

“How is it that we hear each of us in our native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans, and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” (Acts 2:8-11, NRSVue)

The Spirit of God brings us together not in conformity but in unity, united by our love for God and our desire to bring about his kingdom here on earth. I’m sure there were many points of disagreement between the Judeans and the Egyptians—or between those from Asia and Libya; however, their shared experience of the presence of God through the Holy Spirit caused their differences to dissipate and their devotion to God to increase. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit! That’s my desire for our church as we continue to reach new people with the good news of God’s love for them.

This Sunday, I’ll also lead a post-General Conference Debriefing Session to share what was decided in Charlotte a few weeks ago and how it impacts our congregation. We will meet in the sanctuary at 9:45 a.m. and try to conclude by 10:30 a.m. I’ll have a summary of what took place to distribute to those who attend. We’ll have additional copies in the office if you cannot participate. I’ll also do my best to answer any questions on Sunday.

I hope to see you this Sunday, and don’t forget to invite your friends to join us!

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