Dear Church Family,
We're quickly approaching the "Day of Pentecost" which will be observed on May 20th this year. You might wonder, what is the Day of Pentecost? I'm glad you asked!
Fifty days after the Resurrection, the disciples of Jesus were together in Jerusalem. Pentecost was then and still is a Jewish holiday celebrationg the spring harvest of wheat. It began fifty days after the first day of Passover and Jews were required to observe this "holy day." On the Day of Pentecost, also known as the Feast of Weeks, Jesus' disciples experienced the empowerment that would make them a new community. Jesus had instructed them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the gift His Father had promised and they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost was now being fulfilled, the promised gift of the Father had come. The period of waiting was ending and the Old Testament prophecies were about to be fulfilled. The 120 disciples were in "one accord" and were all together in one place. None was missing. We're told they were praying constantly, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his brothers, who were also present. They, too, were obedient disciples of the Risen Christ. Acts 2:2-3 tells us the Holy Spirit came with the "sound like the lowing of a violent wind from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them."
The purpose of this outpouring was for empowerment for those who followed Jesus. Empowerment to share the Gospel with every nation and every tribe. And that day became known as Pentecost in the Christian church and is celebrated as the "birthday of the Church." In the New Testament, the "Acts of the Apostles," written toward the end of the first century by Luke, tells the story of the early church, beginning with this event. There in Jerusalem, where Jews gathered from many lands for the festival, the new community experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, enabling them to praise God in the languages that those whe were gathered could understand. Jews from Israel, Mesopotamia, Judea, Asia, Egypt, Libya, and Rome heard God being glorified in their own language. This phenomenon transformed a fearful and confused group of disciples into apostles, those who literally are "sent" to give testimony to their faith.
This same empowerment of the Holy Spirit is available to us at Manville Reformed Church. We have been given the Holy Spirit by our Father to spread the story of salvation to those around us. We have also been given gifts by the Holy Spirit to be used in the church, for the building up and edification of the Body of Christ. Each of us has been given something to benefit other believers. The disciples were in "one accord" and we, too, need to be united in purpose and mission to bring Jesus to those who have lost hope, those who are dying to be loved, those who don't know that they can belong to the family of God and that heaven can be their eternal home. We can be part of the harvest of souls in our communities for the glory of God.
As we approach this day of celebration, may we together seek the Lord for the empowerment that the disciples experienced on the Day of Pentecost. It was a new day for them, and God continues to do new things in and through us as we surrender - all that we are and all that we have - to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Anticipating the Harvest,