However, the two Sundays celebrated in this very church season, back to back, traditionally were major observance-days in church history, most of 2000 years. And they are much neglected today.
"However, the two Sundays celebrated in this very church season, back to back, traditionally were major observance-days in church history, most of 2000 years. And they are much neglected today."
I am referring to Ascension Day and Pentecost. Christmas reminds us that God sent his Son; on Easter we celebrate that His Son, who Died in our place for the sin-punishment we deserve, was raised from the dead, as He had raised Lazarus. Although Jesus said “It is finished” before He died on the cross, His earthly ministry was really completed when He ascended into Heaven. He went to sit at the right hand of the Father; His divinity was asserted. Then He became Lord as well as Savior.
Then, in just a few days, there was a gathering in an upper room in Jerusalem.
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance….
Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them… “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know — Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it….
This Jesus, God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. … Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”…"
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” … Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. … And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Pentecost is the birthday of the church. It was from this day, and that event, that the church was commissioned to be God’s home – or, more correctly, be Him, to a lost world. Like a proper birthday party, there were gifts galore, as the excerpt from Acts II describes. Not the least of miracles is that Peter was transformed from a wise guy to a wise man. That’s the kind of thing that happens when the Holy Spirit blows in, and settles in your heart.
I would like to share what I think the church is going to start looking like, but that’s for later. Right now I’m enjoying the birthday party.
A great birthday tune: a traditional hymn performed in a non-traditional way (and this traditional guy loves it) by Bart Millard, backed by Mercy Me. Visuals by the traditionally awesome Beanscot Channel.
Watch: Brethren, We Have Met to Worship
Rick Marschall is the author of more than 60 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture to history and criticism; country music, television history, biography, and childrens books He can be reached at RickMarschallArts.com Republished with permission.