Happy Birthday Church! It’s Pentecost
June 12th, 2011 was Pentecost Sunday; churches around the Los Angeles Area celebrate! The Jewish Festival of Weeks or Shavu’ot is the one of the major annual observances of the Jewish calendar. The fact that it occurs exactly fifty days after Passover gave it the name Pentecost (from the Greek word Pentecoste or fifty days.) The New Testament book of Acts chronicles how the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in Jerusalem. The Spirit alighted upon them like tongues of flame and gave them the gift of speaking in foreign languages so that the Gospel may be proclaimed to all people. Thousands were baptized and became believers of Jesus Christ. It is considered by Christians around the world to be the birth of the Church. Nearly two millennia later believers continue celebrate the Church’s birthday with a myriad of events.
First United Methodist Church of Temple City, California celebrated with a Hunger Walk through downtown Temple City with the plan to raise awareness for the local homeless and to raise awareness for the church’s hunger ministries. More than sixty participants, sporting custom printed t-shirts handed out flyers and answered questions. Roxanne Liu a participant states, “Christ came to bring the good news, not just to the healthy but to the sick and the poor. The Church has a tradition, no an obligation for ministry to the poor. Pentecost is a great day to spread the word about Christ just like it happened on the first time.”
At the same time, Faith Church a Chinese speaking congregation in the San Gabriel Valley collaborated with three other local Christian faith communities to host a revival concert in town civic center park. Turning the town bandstand into an altar the sounds of live contemporary Christian music could be heard for blocks around. Hundreds came to the event. Flyers were given to passer-byes, prayers were offered, and scriptures were read. Some were even baptized as bottles of water blessed by the collaborating Pastors were poured over the heads of those who became believers. Pastor David Kang says about the event, “Believers have a language all their own. Non-believers may have no idea what to “be saved” means. We may as well be speaking another language. Pentecost reminds us of the need to speak in the language of the people we need to reach. Whether that is in the language of rock music, Mandarin Chinese, or English, the meaning of the Gospel and the love of Christ is the same in any language.
Pentecost continues to be a call to action. The Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples to empower them and inspire them to do the good work of the Lord and to be the body of Christ. To be open to God’s Spirit is a central part the believer’s spiritual daily walk. How did Pentecost move you? How will the Holy Spirit continue to move within you and through you in to the world?