Greetings all, here is your e-votional for the week…
“In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’”-Acts 1: 1-5
Acts begins with a recap of Luke and a reminder of Luke’s audience. He is writing to “Theophilus.” Who is the mysterious Theophilus? No one knows, of course, but as the name is translated as “God-lover” it could be catch all for anyone reading either Luke or Acts. Regardless, Luke has a message for Theophilus as Acts opens; the Holy Spirit is on its way.
This Sunday we will once again celebrate Pentecost, the day which is generally viewed as the Church’s birthday. More importantly, it was the day on which the Holy Spirit descended in fire and wind upon the apostles, anointing them and giving them the ability to speak in other languages. For us, as the Church, this day is important because we believe that as the Holy Spirit descended upon the Church on that day, it has never left. Today we believe the Holy Spirit is in our midst. It is with us when we worship, when we study, when we work, when we pray. In short, it is with us anytime we seek to do the business of Jesus Christ in this world.
Pentecost also carries with it an opportunity for renewal. Often we can begin to see the work of the Church as we want to see it, conforming the message and mission of the Church to meet our own view of the world. This is a mistake. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent with us and it is always ready to be our guide. We lose sight of that Spirit when we allow our own biases to be mistaken for the Church’s work. Following their anointment, the apostles were about one thing: Jesus Christ. For a brief moment the Church was united and of one purpose. Pentecost challenges us to try to get back to that spirit of shared purpose, to rebuild Christian unity and to remember that we are here to do the work of Jesus Christ. This is a great challenge, but we are reminded that through God, all things are possible.
Prayer: Holy God, please be with us as we join Christians around the world in worshiping you this Pentecost Sunday. We pray that your Spirit would be in our midst and that your words would be on our tongues as we seek to serve you in this world. We thank you for our brothers and sister in Christ and we pray for them this day, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.