St John's Lutheran Church, La Grange IL 60525 (LCMS)

St. John's Lutheran Church and School
47th Street and Brainard Avenue, La Grange, Illinois 60525

 
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Pentecost is Still Happening Today
June 12, 2011

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.”
--Acts 2:1

Pentecost is one of the great festivals of the Old Testament. It has been celebrated in Jewish communities since the time of Moses. God commanded this celebration (c.f. Leviticus 23:15ff) as the Feast of Weeks (7 weeks) after Passover. It is also known as “First Fruits” because it accompanied the command to worship with offerings of the first fruits from the wheat harvest. Over the centuries, as Jews scattered around the world, Pentecost was one of the three great Pilgrim feasts to call them all home to Jerusalem.

The Book of Acts tells us that it was at the Pentecost festival following Jesus’ death and resurrection that the Holy Spirit birthed and empowered the Christian Church. Pentecost had gathered Jews from all over the world to one place as it did for centuries, but this group of pilgrims would return to their countries as men and women transformed by the living Christ.

We tend to focus on the handful of Apostles named in our Bibles, but the world would meet Jesus and experience a new community through thousands of people unnamed who went home transformed to live as disciples of Jesus. The Holy Spirit’s work of gathering people around Jesus and sending them out to connect others with Jesus is ongoing today. One in million may be noted in the history books, but the Spirit isn’t limiting his work to their stories. He’s gone wild in these last days. All the barriers came down. “In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people… your sons and daughters… young… old…. I will show wonders’” (Joel 2:28ff quoted by Peter in Acts 2).

We may never make a footnote in a history book, but each of us has a uniquely divine chapter written out by the Holy Spirit for us. He writes that story by calling us together in communities like St. John’s. Through scripture, sacraments and sacred community the Spirit gathers us together to meet Jesus and experience the support of a church. The Small Catechism taught his divine work saying, “He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ.” Pentecost, this 50th day of Easter in the modern era, is a perpetual celebration of the last days. We live in days where God is showing wonders in the heavens and signs on the earth through his Spirit poured out on us. There are no special orders of priests or clergy, no prerequisites or entrance exams. We are his story. We are the signs and wonders that cry to the world, “Meet Jesus.”

The first unsuspecting band of disciples sent out into the world was ridiculed. “They have had too much wine,” their mockers cried as they planted the seeds of self doubt (Acts 1:13). But Peter stood up with the word of God to defend them and empower them. His defense should ring out to us every time we are tempted to believe (or someone plants that seed of doubt) that each and every one of us is anything less than God’s plan to connect people to Jesus and the community of his church.

Pentecost is also the celebration of harvest and the giving of that first fruit offering. Jesus told us of another kind of harvest far more important to God. Speaking of people whom God was drawing to meet Jesus and his church, our Savior says, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). We are that first fruit offering of his harvest who have now become his workers. Living out the Pentecost festival changes beggars into givers and entitlement into enlistment. Harvested into the granary of God’s house, we move from the question, “what can God do for me?” to “what is the Spirit’s calling for me?” There is nothing more glorious to witness than working in God’s field, harvesting his vision that, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Old Testament: Joel 2:32 and New: Acts 2:21). It’s what we’re called to do as this church and school where Pentecost is still happening today.
 

 

 

(c)2011 St. John's Lutheran Church and School | 505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525 www.sjlagrange.com
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Pastor's Blogs

Bill Geis has led a variety of missional ministries for over 20 years. He has served as senior pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in La Grange, Illinois since 2004. He is the proud father of teenage daughters, Erica and Monica. His partner in ministry and in marriage, Sandi Geis, serves with him on the team at St. John's as prayer ministry leader, devotional writer and music teacher. He has a passion and calling to rally Christian communities and disciples to help people Meet Jesus in authentic and life changing ways.

 
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