Good morning and welcome to worship on this morning of Pentecost!
For those of you who may be new at A Modern Warrior’s Life, I’d like to take a moment to tell you that you are welcome here, no matter your religious affiliation. No matter your nationality or ethnicity, and no matter your sexual orientation.
Here at a Modern Warrior’s Life, we believe… that is myself, as Command Blogger, and my wife, muse, best pal and pew-mate in the church: Mrs. Gunfighter, that the signal tenet of Christ’s ministry is that all are welcome to, all are loved in, and that none are any more worthy of, the grace of God than any other person in this world.
With that said, let me greet you in the way of The Apostle Paul and the ancients: “Grace to you and Peace, from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ”.
As I said earlier, friends, today is Pentecost Sunday: That day in the church year where we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit to those earliest members of Christ’s church as chronicled in the Book of Acts. In Acts, the resurrected Christ continued to meet with his disciples, and to tell them what they were to do. He told them that they must remain in Jerusalem until such time as they received what had been promised to them. Jesus said: “John baptized in water, you shall be baptized in the holy Spirit… and soon!” Jesus told the disciples that they would receive such power, through the Holy Spirit, that they would be able to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth.
With that, Jesus ascended into heaven in a cloud.
Can you imagine that? Can you imagine being told directly from the mouth of Christ that you have a special mission to fulfill? Can you imagine how… special, for lack of a better word, that would make you feel? Pretty good, I’ll bet. Pretty scared, too.
Look, many people routinely seek out increased responsibility in order to demonstrate their worthiness for job promotions or for their own personal prestige… but how many people get personally tagged to do a certain job by Jesus Christ himself? The disciples had to have been feeling pretty good about themselves at that moment…. Because I am here to tell you that I would have been, at that moment, massively guilty of the sin of pride.
Now, like any good group of churchmen, what did the disciples do next? Hey! No calling out the answers, some folks don’t know this story yet! What they did was this: They had a meeting. Yup, a meeting. You see, we often use the term “some things never change” but that really has been a truth since time immemorial. These worthy fellows held a meeting. Now, the purpose of which was to replace a disciple named Judas, you may remember him. They drew lots and elected Matthias.
When the feast of the Tabernacle arrived, and once all the disciples were in one place, a sound like a strong wind roared throughout the entire building, and the Holy Spirit spread through them all! All of a sudden, the twelve began speaking in different languages! Now, because of the feast, there were Jews from all over in the Temple when this happened and they were amazed!
It was then that Peter spoke and told the gathered people the story of Christ’s triumph over death. More importantly, he told them what they were supposed to do next.
Do you know what that was? I’ll tell you: They were to go out into the world and spread the good news! They were to go out, be baptized and to spread the Gospel. I suppose that we can safely say the those early Christians who were sent out into the world did a pretty good job, since we are still spreading the word, today.
It’s a pretty cool story, isn’t it? Sure it is… it’s got a guy who was resurrected from the grave, it’s got a cool plot, it’s got great special effects… I mean a man disappears into heaven, riding a cloud!... How cool was that? And Star Wars wasn’t going to be around for almost two thousand years!
Yeah, it makes a cool story. I can tell you; personally, that it is an exciting read… you should give it a go sometime (and if you don’t have a Bible, let me know, and I’ll send one to you). The thing to remember here is that this isn’t a comic book. This isn’t some cool anime or manga. This is real.
You know, the disciples weren’t the only ones to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. All of us who believe are filled with it as well. Sure, it might not have been as dramatic for us as it was for the them. We might not have gotten the special effects and the loud wind in the church… but we have it none the less. We have it because it was promised to us by Jesus.
Now, even though we receive the Holy Spirit in a different way, our mission is no different. One of the things that we are commanded to do is to go out and preach The Gospel, teach the ways of Christ, and evangelize. We are to witness the good news to the people of the world who have not yet heard it.
In the days of the apostles, they were gifted with the power to heal, and make outward conspicuous signs so that unbelievers, who were mostly illiterate, would see with their own eyes, and be amazed enough to tell the stories far and wide as witnesses to God’s grace and power…. But we don’t need that, you and I. We are men and women of the 21st century. We have a different way. We don’t have to have tales told by word of mouth, for we are literate. We don’t have to walk through the world with our only possessions on our backs, as we preach and teach.
We don’t have to write on parchment.
Aren’t we fortunate? We, as users of all sorts of New Media, have the means to reach people… all over. Not just those we can touch, or to send a letter to, but to people all over the world who are ready to receive the good news of Christ and the Holy Spirit. We blog. We email. We Twitter (or is it Tweet?). Many of us blog in more than one place. We talk about our lives… our children, our jobs, our personal politics, we even talk about sex.
The thing that I want you to remember today, even if you don't want to talk about cool special effects, is this: We followers of Christ have a responsibility, and I hope that on this day that is so important in the life of the church, we will go forth from here, and share with someone… anyone, the gift of the Holy Spirit that we have been given… because we weren’t meant to keep it for ourselves.
****All of what I wrote in the post above is heartfelt and sincere... but my writing a sermon was the direct result of my asking readers to send me some ideas on things to post about. My friend Vicar Mick, up in Calgary, Alberta challenged me to write a sermon without Googling or cribbing from other sermons. This is the result.****