GETTING READY FOR SUNDAY
Weekly E-Mail Greetings from Rev. Lacy Sellars
If I were you, I’d arrive a few minutes early Sunday to behold the wonderful transformation that will take place in the Sanctuary, prepared by the Worship Committee. The Book of Acts declares that everything was transformed by the rush of a violent wind filling the entire house. “Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.” If you were given the assignment to bring this scene to life in our Sanctuary, what would you create? Wear your red, yellow, and orange clothes and come see the work of the Holy Spirit!
SCRIPTURE READING FOR MAY 19, 2013
Please read the following passage before coming to worship:
Acts 2: 1-36
“Pentecost Here and Now”
It’s interesting that Luke, the author of Acts, separates Jesus’ resurrection, his ascension, and the giving of the Holy Spirit into three distinct events. Compare this version of Pentecost with the giving of the Spirit in John 20, where all three events occur on the Day of Resurrection.
In John, the Spirit is the Advocate promised by Jesus at the Last Supper. In John’s Pentecost, the Sprit brought comfort and peace to the frightened disciples—a true and welcome characteristic of the Holy Spirit. Browse the “Holy Spirit” section in the Presbyterian Hymnal, and notice the many smooth and floating hymns that express these comforting aspects of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts, however, the Spirit ushers in God’s power and mission to the world. The mighty burning wind blows the church outside its closed doors, into new and unexpected places of ministry. It can be an unsettling picture to see God’s Spirit driving the church out to the world. Who knows where God’s Spirit might blow the church next? Are we ready for such transformation?
There’s no need to be afraid. The Spirit enabled the early church to speak the good news in languages that all nations could understand. Jesus promised that the Spirit would equip us to do even greater works than he. This means that Pentecost is more than the birthday of the church. Pentecost happens whenever and wherever God decides to create a community of believers and empower them to tell the good news. Pentecost happens any time we see God’s Spirit at work and fan the flames into a roaring fire.
When you come to worship Sunday, look for evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in our congregation. Where do you see tongues as of fire poured out on our members and friends? Maybe the Spirit lands on the teacher in the classroom or someone befriending a youth. Maybe it lands on someone sitting next to a visitor in worship, or someone helping a friend out to their car. Maybe it lands on a deacon taking food to a homebound friend—or even you calling a friend who has not been at worship for awhile.
In fact, I invite you to send me your e-mails. Tell me where you have witnessed Pentecost here and now. Show me where you have seen the Spirit at work, either in our church or out in the world? I will print some of your “Pentecost Sightings” in a future column, or in the newsletter. That way we can lift up the wonderful ways that God is at work in our church and encourage others to keep the Spirit alive. Let me hear from you, and thank you for being such a loving and giving church!