Pentecost: The Best Birthday Ever
This is a sermon preview for Sunday, May 28, 2023, a special service in which FBCM will be celebrating Pentecost.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them…For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
1 Corinthians 12:3-13
Anyone who knows anything about me knows this: I love birthdays. My birthday, definitely! But also, anyone’s birthday, really. I love any excuse to celebrate my family members and friends. I’ll even join the restaurant staff and sing to strangers!
That’s what makes this Sunday one of my favorite days of the Church calendar!
Pentecost is the day we celebrate the Church’s birthday. And what’s a birthday party without gifts?!
That’s right! Every year–50 days after Easter–the Church gets a birthday party! When we gather to worship on Pentecost, we remember that when Jesus ascended to heaven, he did not leave us alone to figure out this complicated life. Jesus sent another–the Holy Spirit–to be with his followers, to offer them comfort, guidance, and power to live the rest of the days of their lives faithfully. To everyone’s surprise, the Holy Spirit turned out to be one of the best gifts God has ever given his people!
Acts 2 says that the Holy Spirit’s presence was so strong on the disciples that it appeared like flames above their heads and gave them the ability to worship God in other languages–so that all who were present might hear of God’s faithfulness in their own tongue. From then on, all who received the Spirit were compelled to share the gospel with others, and Christ’s Church was born!
Even a couple thousand years later, Jesus still gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. I doubt we’ll see any floating flames this week, but as we celebrate the Church’s birthday we come to the Lord in thanksgiving for the many works of the Holy Spirit within the body of Christ. No matter what spiritual gift of the Holy Spirit you’ve been given, 1 Corinthians reminds us that all gifts come from one God and are equally important to encourage one another in the Church.
So come one, come all, this Sunday to celebrate the Church’s birthday together. I need you just as much as you need me. Together, by the grace of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we celebrate that we are the one body of Christ.
How have you celebrated Pentecost in the past? If you haven’t, how might you take some time this week to celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the start of the Church?
What gift(s) of the Holy Spirit has God given you to support the congregation? How can you pray this week for God to remind you of those gifts and guide you in the best way to use those gifts this Summer?