Pentecost: The Season of the Church
The Day of Pentecost marks the Sunday seven weeks (49 days) after Easter when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church (Acts 2). On this day God gave the early Christians the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell in them forever. What Jesus prophesied before his death (John 14:15-27) now takes place. Since Pentecost all Christians receive the gift of the Holy Spirit upon their baptism.
The Holy Spirit enables a person to have faith in Jesus Christ and to treat the Holy Bible as the inerrant, inspired word of God which is essential for continued Christian faith.
Some Christians are blessed by the Holy Spirit with special gifts such as the gift of prophecy, the ability to discern the presence of evil spirits (demons), dreams that give them information about others (usually for the sake of prayer) that they would not otherwise have. Other gifts of the Holy Spirit which we might think of as less spectacular are actually essential to the ongoing well-being of the church, gifts such as works of service, love, generosity, hospitality, encouragement, intercessory prayer, etc. Without these gifts the church would not be continually built-up, strengthened and able to serve those in her midst and others.
If I could wish three gifts of the Holy Spirit on any Christian they would be the gifts of a desire for continual prayer, the gift of encouragement and the gift of generosity, in that order. Through prayer we lift up to God the needs of those who do not know Christ and pray for their salvation. Through the gift of encouragement Christians encourage their leaders and each other to continue to serve God and one other without discord or complaint. Finally, through the gift of generosity Christians abundantly give money and time for the work of the church in support of pastors, deaconesses, Christian school teachers, missionaries and for the maintenance and expansion of the witness of Christ throughout the world.
If you visit us at Grace Lutheran Church throughout Pentecost you will notice the Bible readings each Sunday focus on the missionary work of Christ and his disciples as well as the missionary work of the early church in Acts and the missionary work of the apostle Paul. This is one reason why the season of Pentecost is also known as the season of the Church. As you worship with us in the Divine Service you will find the second reading as well as the third Bible reading should focus on this theme.
God’s richest blessings to you these Pentecost days.