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JR. Forasteros - May 19, 2013
From Series: "Already/Not Yet"
Jesus' resurrection wasn't the end of the story; it was the beginning of God's new creation. The Resurrection is God's first step toward reclaiming creation, and we get to be a part of it. By choosing to follow Jesus, we leave the old reality dominated by sin and death and step into God's kingdom, where we find life. This new life has already begun. And yet we're also still waiting, because God's kingdom has not yet come in full. How do we live in the tension between the Already and the Not Yet? This series explores who God calls the Church to be, and how the Holy Spirit enables us to join in God's mission in the space between the Resurrection and the Second Coming. We're not just waiting around for God to show up. God is already here and working, so we're joining in!
More From "Already/Not Yet"
When we hear the story of Pentecost, with everyone speaking in multiple languages and tongues of fire and thousands finding Jesus for the first time, it’s frankly easy to become intimidated.
Because we look around today and think, Where’s all that?
Where are the miracles and the tongues of fire? Where’s the powerful, power-filled Church that’s moving and shaking and changing things?
Asking that question about Pentecost points to a whole set of questions that lie just beneath the surface of what we’ve been talking about throughout this series. Since Easter, we’ve been exploring how we are called to live Between Jesus’ resurrection and his second coming, in this time when the Kingdom is already here and not yet here at the same time.
We claimed that those who follow Jesus are called to be different from the world around us, that we should look like Jesus’ Life. We saw that the best way for us to live that different, holy life is in the Church (which began on Pentecost). That we’re all given – by the Holy Spirit – gifts that should enable us to serve each other. A couple of weeks ago, Keven told us that we gather to celebrate the new life we’re living with God and last week Sheila led us to see our purpose: to invite the rest of the world into this new life we’ve found in Jesus.
The scary thing about all that we’ve been talking about is how easily this new life with Jesus turns into a self-improvement program. If we’re not careful, we reduce Christianity to ‘just try harder’ or ‘just be better’. This powerful, world-altering, life-resurrecting faith ends up being sort of like the Atkins diet or P90X or the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You just try, develop some new habits. And some people nail it and some people don’t and that’s that.
Then we hear the story of Pentecost and think, Woah I’m missing something big. But even then, we get caught up in the spectacle – the languages and the fire and the wind. It’s easy for us to miss the true importance of Pentecost for all the spectacle of the day.
What actually matters on Pentecost is that the Holy Spirit creates a people who will show the world who God is.
That’s it. That’s the bottom line on Pentecost. Behind all the flash and truly awesome, miraculous stuff, God has called a people together to become the light of the world. The Holy Spirit is the heartbeat, the lifeblood of the Church.
That might sounds odd to some of us. Of the three persons of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is certainly the most confusing, least understood. We can imagine the Father, in Heaven, ruling the world. And we really like Jesus, the Son who became human, who lived, died and was raised to rescue us from Sin and reclaim God’s good creation.
But the Spirit? We’re fuzzy on her. Many of us grew up hearing her called the Holy Ghost (and you still hear that on TV and in movies today). The term “ghost” is unfortunate because even though back in ole King James’ day, ghost and spirit were synonymous, today ‘ghost’ conjures images of departed loved ones and wronged, vengeful dead.
For many Christians, the Holy Spirit is sort of like a ghost – haunting the edges of our faith, lingering like a specter we don’t quite know what to do with.
But the Holy Spirit is vital to our faith! She’s the third person of the Trinity (again, more about next week). The Spirit is as fully God as is the Father or the Son. Everything that’s true of the Father or the Son is true of the Spirit (and vice versa). The Spirit is coequal and coeternal with both the Father and the Son.