And then, the 50th day happened, and suddenly, this little, inconsequential group was a mighty force, a rapidly growing movement that would, within a few years, be spreading in every direction, into every known place. Thousands and thousands of people would be converting to this new faith, thousands and thousands of people from all walks of life, from every race and tribe, both male and female, rich and poor, free and slave, Jew and Gentile, would be caught up, empowered, freed, forgiven, and made new. Thousands and thousands of people would become, over time, millions and millions, and now, billions and billions, worldwide, across every nation, embracing every manner of person imaginable.
How did this happen? What power made that little band become what the church is today? What happened on that 50th day after the first Easter? One thing – the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit happened. On that 50th day, on the Jewish festival called Pentecost, as that small band was gathered together in one room, as the entire church on earth was gathered in that one room, the Holy Spirit happened. The Spirit blew into that room, the Holy Spirit lit up that room with the fire of God’s power and the light of God’s love. The Holy Spirit came, oh my did it come, and suddenly everything was different, for that little band of believers, and for all the people they, and their descendants down through history would encounter.
The Holy Spirit is the power of God, the living, active, irresistible, unstoppable power of God let loose in the world, free to go wherever it wants, to whomever it wants, whenever it wants. It is God, free and active in the world. It is God living and loving everywhere in the world. It is God changing and reforming and enlightening the whole world. The Holy Spirit is God being God, now, today, here, there, and everywhere.
The Holy Spirit is God in us, within us, at work in us, empowering us, enlightening us, sending us, equipping us, changing us, forgiving us, renewing us, loving us. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us the church. It is the Holy Spirit that unites us with the whole church on earth, in all its many and various styles and expressions and practices. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us, not just a gathering of like-minded folks, but the Body of Christ, the people of God. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us the hands, the feet, the eyes, and the heart of God real and active in the world today, and in our homes and schools and workplaces and communities today.
The Holy Spirit changes everything, changes us, and we can never be the same once we feel the power of the Spirit, once we feel the wind of the Spirit, once we feel the fire of the Spirit. We are changed, we are made new, we can never be what we once were, because now we are Spirit people. We are Christ-centered and Spirit-powered people, and we are sent, by the Spirit, into our world, to be agents of God’s grace and love everywhere we go.
We celebrate the Festival of Pentecost on May 20th, at our 8AM service, and at our 10:15 Praise Service. The Spirit comes, and I pray you will come, as well. See you in church!