This Sunday is Pentecost. We recall the day, nearly 2000 years ago, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church, and Jesus’ first fearful disciples were turned into tigers who began to boldly proclaim God’s message of Good News in Jerusalem and beyond. Pentecost was the starting gun that launched the race to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, and the Spirit is still present and available to empower us today.
It is clear to me that God’s Spirit is at work in Bethel in a fresh way. I have heard so many stories lately of Bethelites sharing the Good News, sometimes in the most startling circumstances. One woman was invited to share the Gospel with a Muslim neighbour after this women had commented on the love she had seen Christians display. Another Bethelite was told by a non-believing neighbour that she had had seen a positive turn in her life and that she attributed it to this Bethelite’s prayers to Jesus! I myself had an unexpected opportunity to pray with a neighbour on my driveway one day after returning from work (a completely unexpected outcome to our conversation!).
We are commemorating this Pentecost Sunday with a flag ceremony. (Representatives of the 30 different nations that make up Bethel Church will march their flags to the front of the sanctuary.) We do this as both a symbol and a prayer. It is a symbol that we, who are many, have been made one through the Gospel. It is a prayer that God will continue to empower us to take the Gospel to those whom He puts in our path, in fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Paul, quoting Isaiah, says: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" (Roman 10:15). As bearers of God’s Good News, may we be a beautiful presence to those desperately in need of God in our church’s community, in our own communities, and to the ends of the earth.—Pastor Tom
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