Friday, June, 9, 2017 | 6:03 AM | by June
They were filled with the Holy Spirit! Acts 4-4
Every year at about this time, a lot of Christian Churches celebrate the Pentecost. This year, it is the first Sunday of June. Following that day, for many Sunday’s, the color of the altar décor is green. So, often, a quick reference to the church year for the “Season of Pentecost,” is the green season. This will last all the way until approximately Thanksgiving.
Over the years, I’ve been in churches that have taken on artistic symbolism to creatively express the season of green and the season of the Church. Often, the symbols circle us back to the “Mission of God.”
For instance, I’ve seen very beautiful paraments displayed on the altar with images of the old tall ships. The sails are full of wind. They have multiple masts. They look majestic. I see this as the church, powerfully moving forward to move forward in God’s Mission. The full sails remind me of the power of the Holy Spirit. In particular this year, when the imagery comes to mind, I think of the slogan that our own Southern District has been using, God IS on the move in the Southern District. I believe that is true. He IS also on the move at First Lutheran Birmingham. He IS also on the move through YOU.
A second image that comes to mind is the image of fish. Not the individual “Jesus” fish, but a boatload of fish or a net full of fish. Again, I see the connection to God’s mission. Jesus told the disciples that they would be fishers of men. He was talking about them using the power of the Gospel to transform hearts, bring heart to repentance and transformation. Again, as this process played out for the Apostles and the early church, the power was the Holy Spirit connect with the Word as a means of grace for an incredible “catch.”
Let me stick with just these two images in my finishing thoughts.
My first thought is that God is ALL IN as he commits to His Mission. It is not a hobby for Him. The Good News of the Gospel cannot be disconnected from His Mission. He is serious about it. He invites us to participate. I am humbled by the invitation.
Second, we are connected with other believers in what could be imagined as a majestic ship. That is the true Christian Church, and to others in our local congregation. This majestic ship has power. It cuts through the swells and waves. This ship has strong reinforcement and can withstand all that comes up against it.
Third, neither the wood of the hull of this ship, nor the canvas or cloth of the sails, nor the intricacy of the rigging give the ship it’s power. It is the wind of the Spirit.
Over the years, I have had people tell me that they were praying that I would be filled with the Holy Spirit every day. That is one of the most empowering phrases that I have ever heard. I pray that same prayer. I pray it for God’s church. I pray it for our Synod and the Southern District. I pray it for First Lutheran. I pray it for you and for me.
God be praised!