John 15:22-27, 16 4b-15
The Body of Christ at Work in the World Today
Like many Christian Churches, we Moravians do Christmas really well. In non-Covid times we fill the sanctuary several times over with folks eager to sing the familiar carols, share in a Moravian lovefeast, lift high the candles on the final verse of the final hymn. It is amazing! And we love it.
As Moravians, we do Easter well too. Again, in non-Covid times we have sunrise services, and the morning worship services have twice the normal attendance, with perhaps extra chairs brought in to seat the latecomers. We want to hear: “The Lord is Risen” and together proclaim, “The Lord is Risen indeed.
But here we are at Pentecost, an event that is every bit as important as both Christmas and Easter, and what do we do? Yawn.
For some congregations, this has become a Sunday to do confirmation, and this can add a note of celebration. Most congregations do serve communion on this high holy day, but otherwise, there is not a lot of fanfare. BUT THERE SHOULD BE.
While Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, and Easter celebrates his resurrection, Pentecost celebrates the Body of Christ (the Church) that will now carry Jesus’ ministry forward for all of time. This is a big deal!
Today’s scripture reading from Acts chapter 2 tells us the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit to those early believers who were still somewhat confused and bewildered from all that had happened to them since Easter day. But Jesus had told them to remain in Jerusalem until the arrival of the Spirit, and here it was.
To spell it out in plain language, the Holy Spirit is the presence of God in our world today that gives power and purpose to the church today. It is the presence of God that not only helps us to discern our mission!
So preachers and teachers, read today’s texts carefully and note what the Spirit is doing.
Why you might ask, is this so important?
The coming of the Holy Spirit to those believers in the early church was the confirmation that they had not been left alone with Jesus departure at the ascension. Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit, the comforter, the life-giver, the very presence of God in the world, would come and move them into action.
Too many people are trying to go it alone. Too many congregations are trying to go it alone. We cannot! So, celebrate Pentecost for what it is, the birth of the Body of Christ of which each of us is a member. Thanks be to God.