Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (NRSV)
This promise, which Jesus made to his disciples just before his ascension, was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came down on the disciples as they were gathered in the room in Jerusalem. Following this, Peter preached what could be called the first Christian sermon. It was a very successful sermon: the Bible tells us in Acts 2 that after Peter had finished speaking, about 3,000 new believers were added to the group.
Today is Pentecost. On this day, nearly 2,000 years ago, the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples, and the work of the Church began in earnest. As Jesus had promised, the disciples received the power of the Holy Spirit, and then they went out to be Christ's witnesses "to the ends of the earth." On the day of Pentecost, the Church of Jesus Christ came to life. So today is the Church's birthday! Happy birthday, everybody!
So what are we waiting for? If today is the Church's birthday, shouldn't we be throwing a party? I baked a cake yesterday, and put some candles on it, and this morning at our children's story time we will sing, "Happy Birthday" and blow out the candles. After worship we will share the cake. What other things could we do to celebrate the Church's birthday?
However we choose to celebrate this day, let us give thanks to God for the work of the Holy Spirit, which brought the Church to life and still sustains it today! Hallelujah!
Prayer: God of joy, we give you thanks on this day for the life of your Church. You brought it to life through the power of the Holy Spirit, and that same Spirit is alive in it today. We praise you for all of the wonderful things you have done! Amen.