Sisters and Brothers,
I wish that the Pentecost holiday received more attention than it does. It’s not celebrated the way that other holidays are. Everyone, whether they are Christian or not, knows the story of Easter and Christmas. But many professed Christians don’t know the story of Pentecost.
The word “Pentecost” literally means the fiftieth day. According to church tradition, Jesus was with the disciples for forty days after the resurrection. Then he ascended into heaven. But ten days after the ascension, fifty days after Easter, God came to be present with the disciples in a different way. Although Jesus had left them, the Holy Spirit – the Advocate – came to the disciples to guide them and empower their ministry.
According to the story, found in chapter 2 of the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit came to rest on each of the disciples, imbuing them with tongues of fire, so that they could go out and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone. It was the beginning of what would become the Christian Church. It was the beginning of evangelism.
Nowadays, it seems that evangelism has become a dirty word. We think that faith should be a private matter. “What happens in the church, stays in the church.”
While we should indeed be respectful of the beliefs of others, we should also be willing to share the things that excite us, inspire us, encourage us, and comfort us in our church. The point is not to convince others that our beliefs are right. The point is to share with them something that’s helped us. If our relationship with God brings us peace and comfort when we are hurting, shouldn’t we share that peace and comfort with others who are likewise hurting?
That’s what our recent “Invite a Friend to Church” month was all about. The month is over, but you can always invite a friend to church.
Rev. Dustin Bartlett