May 29, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. You will receive power [to enact His will] when the Holy Spirit comes on you. You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.’ After this, He was taken up before their very eyes and a cloud hid Him from their sight.” (Acts 1. 7-9)
I have been “reflecting” on the passages of scripture written by Luke under the leadership of the Holy Spirit with a sense of capturing the vitality of celebrating the Day of Pentecost. The Church should celebrate that day not just in 2022 but in all the years yet to come between now and The Last Day. The modern Church makes only passing mentions to such High Holy Days in the Judeo-Christian movement. The Holy Spirit is not taught nor even mentioned as often, as affectionately nor as powerfully as it ought. Such “high” Church focus is thought to be detrimental to the “seeker” population and thus an anathema to the “evangelical/non-denomination” congregations. I suppose there can be two or three ways of looking at the “seeker” Church.
- A “seeker,” as Os Guiness discusses, is one who senses a higher calling, deeper purpose and no other consistent explanation for life in this world apart from that which is offered by something more than this world can offer or promote as creating. It is by the persistent expression of faith, hope and love (as defined by biblical principles not contemporary ecclesiastical philosophy/theology) in and before the world that offers the “seeker” something more to consider. Since the Church’s identity is of the Kingdom of God and not of this world, the truth of God not only draws them near but sets them free.
- A “seeker” may be, from the Christian faith community perspective, one who seeks out those who are “lost” and bring them near to their salvation which comes in and through Christ alone. [Do not be misled, the Church does not save them; Church membership, by whatever name the local congregation may call it, does not save them; and feign efforts to mouth the words of a profession of faith does not save them. Christ alone saves us and our sincere discipleship allows that saved-ness to manifest into wholeness and holiness.]
- A “seeker” is also then, a combination of the two for those who are a part of the Church, the universal community of faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah of God and the Christ of humanity. There is something in the very essence, presence and Word of God that attracts the believer/disciple out of the “church” world and into the true body of Christ, the Church, of which Jesus Christ is the head and no other leadership manifestation such as pontiffs, bishops, general ministers, etc. It is the Holy Spirit itself which then disciples and builds up the body in its individual parts and as a whole.
Bearing those descriptors in mind, I see the validity of continuing to celebrate those “high, holy days” beyond Christmas and Easter. They have a purpose in our spiritual growth as a “seeker” and as a “mentor.” We are, by Jesus’ command, called to be fishers of humanity and shepherds of the flock. We broadcast our nets on the “right” side of the boat (how many “wrong” side attempts has the Church made down through the past nearly 2000 years) to capture the fish drawn to the light and bring them in. We gather them into pools of plenty not for consumption but for the stewardship of body, mind, heart and soul. Strange how we focus more on the first and not on the last. It is not an either/or that is the mission and ministry of the Church but a both/and. It is why Jesus sent the disciples out into all the world to make disciples of all nations and then baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Not only did He do that but He promised that His Spirit would be with them AND He would return when His work in Heaven was completed. We, the Christ and the Church, have work to do and to complete.
So, in the spirit of reflecting upon and capturing the essence and vitality of Pentecost, I lift it up to you for your consideration. I do so in order that our ministry as mighty ones of God will be strengthened, unified and effective. That being our aim, then God is glorified, Jesus is justified, the Spirit is magnified and the Church is better empower and engaged to do what it was, is and is to be doing. Tomorrow, I will reflect on the disciples/apostles first order of business during their “waiting” time: making the “number” complete.
OUR CALL TO PRAYER:
Abba, Father, our home is with You on earth as it is in Heaven. Empower us to take Your Word as the critical voice of reformation and reconciliation and speak the truth in love. We know this world is not forever. We know, too, that we are called to make of this world a better place. Yours is the glory and the design that makes the most sense. We offer ourselves to You so that Your will be done and our will be Yours. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.