I did an exercise with the Church Council at our last meeting, which I would
like to share with you. Open up your imaginations and wonder what it
would be like if _________ happened or was done in our church.
Personally, I wondered what would happen if I devoted more time to prayer
and scripture reading/study? How would this impact my ministry and St.
Timothy? So, let us together enter into a time of holy wondering.
Given that we are still in Easter, what a great time for holy wondering.
Certainly, the disciples were invited into this as they spent time with the
risen Lord who commissioned them as his witnesses.
Sunday, May 20 is Pentecost Sunday, when we celebrate the outpouring of
the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ followers. It was then that they received the power
to do what Jesus had called them to do—share the good news, with power!
Bishop John Macholz has also designated that Sunday as Companion Synod Sunday. We will be lifting up the relationship between the Upstate NY Synod and the Lutheran churches of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Considering all the nationalities represented at Pentecost, how appropriate that we should celebrate this ongoing relationship on such a Sunday.
In the past, I’ve heard people say that Lutherans don’t believe in the Holy
Spirit. What they actually meant was we don’t talk about the Holy Spirit as much as Pentecostals do. However, if you look at the songs and hymns we sing, the Holy Spirit is certainly there.
Martin Luther wrote and talked a lot about the Holy Spirit. In an older
translation of the last verse of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” it says,
“…the Spirit and the gifts are ours through him who with us sideth…” They are for us, not just for disciples of long ago.
In The Small Catechism, Luther wrote:
“the Holy [Spirit] has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His
gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers,
enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He
forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day
will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in
Chris everlasting life.”
So, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we as a church body
opened ourselves up to the work and power of the Holy Spirit in a new way in our congregation? Can we ask God for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that God’s church may grow? May it be so.
Let us together, empowered and emboldened by the Holy Spirit, share with the world God’s love in word and deed.