Today, we celebrate Pentecost. Pentecost is the Sunday of the Christian year when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the first apostles. This dramatic and miraculous event manifest through the sound of a mighty rushing wind and the appearance of flames of fire was the birthday of the Church. When the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, they received the power that Jesus had promised. It was that power of the Holy Spirit that then so filled them that they went out boldly to spread the message of the gospel to all the world, and thus the church was born.
Before Pentecost, the disciples had been a rag-tag crew of well-meaning but ineffectual followers. After Pentecost, these same disciples became such powerful witnesses that it was said of one of the disciples, Simon Peter, that his mere shadow passing over a physically distressed person could bring healing. Before Pentecost, the disciples were fearful, fickle followers who could not be depended upon even to stay awake while their Master was praying. After Pentecost, they were willing to face persecution, even surrender themselves to torture and death in order to testify that this same Master had been raised from the dead. Before Pentecost, they were pathetic, listless, timid. After Pentecost, they were filled with power, Spirit power, and they went out to win the world. This was Christ’s legacy to the world. A Spirit-filled church. And that, of course, is who we are intended to be today--a power-filled, purpose-driven community of faith making a dramatic difference in the world.
Pentecost is a good day for us to take account of our discipleship, both individually and corporately. Are we the kind of force in the world that Christ has called us to be?