Let us pray: O Spirit from on high, come and pour out Your gifts of love and peace upon us! Give us a calm demeanor and a joyous heart! Inspire us to do works of great service in Your kingdom. And banish heartache and sadness from our lives forevermore! Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM THE GIVER OF ETERNAL PEACE!
TEXT: John 14: 25-27
Dearly Beloved By the Power of the Holy Spirit!
We’ve waited and waited and waited. It’s been a long haul. Our inner spirit’s have been depressed and heartache—literally—has set in. Our joy over life has been diminished. But now that lead weight has been removed! Pentecost is here!
It’s fitting that we celebrate the outpouring of the Spirit upon the Church at this time. Everything I just described fits today. Covid restrictions are rapidly coming to an end. All the lethargy and angst they have bred for 15 months has built up within us, just as the frustration of sin has built up within us. But now it is going away, its plug has been pulled, and comfort and joy are beginning to rush into that newly created void.
I’ve noticed and felt a joyless heaviness of spirit for the last year and a half. I’ve seen it in all of you, too. We couldn’t enjoy our usual fellowship. We were weighed down by unease over the future. Our usual carefree natures were forgotten memories. Waking or sleeping, that “lightness of being” was gone. But now it is coming out of its cocoon. And that beautiful butterfly of the Christian heart is beginning to flap its wings once more.
So it is with the yearly coming of Pentecost! The disciples awaited the Spirit’s outpouring upon them, and us, for 10 days after Ascension. They had all been through the down days of Holy Week. They had had their emotional security blanket ripped away on Good Friday when they saw their Savior die on a tree. They had tearfully laid Him in the grave. They had awakened on Easter morn with heavy hearts. The Lord of joy was dead…..
But then great news had stirred their hearts once more! The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed! They even saw Him, touched Him, and spoke to Him. For those 40 days they had bathed in the glow of His love and His eternal truths. Now, after Ascension they had to wait some more—10 long expectant days. And on Pentecost the culmination of their joy and confidence arrived. The 3rd member of the Eternal Trinity, the Comforter from on High, came into the upper room and rushed into their hearts. He visibly sent His fiery truth of love and joyousness to alight on their heads. He gave them gifts that have no comparison: gifts of tongues, gifts of healing, gifts of insight, gifts of joyous confidence—all to bolster their faith. Those same gifts have filtered down to us today, since believers like you are the modern-day Church. Yes, Pentecost lives on in and through you!
Jesus always keeps His promises. He did with them and He still does with us. Listen to His promise: “But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
By now everyone should know that the peace the world promises is a lie. It changes almost daily. It keeps going through the wash/spin cycle again and again and again. This is what has weighed so heavily on our consciences and hearts. This is what has prompted so many to give up their good cheer. But no more! For God remembers His promises and always keeps them. In baptism the Spirit implanted the good cheer of faith within us. Through His word of power: “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven!” He gives us hopeful joy. And through the Holy Supper, He also comes and ignites a spirit of confidence within. These are the Spirit’s vehicles whereby our souls find peace and rest.
Physically and spiritually, the darkness of our slumbering spirits is now gone. The warm light of God’s grace envelopes us. And the gentle breeze of His Spirit propels each of us and the whole Christian Church ever upward. Amen
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH….
Pastor Thomas H. Fox