When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. – Acts 2:1-3
One thing Rebekah and I have always loved is celebration. We celebrate everything we can. Then when there’s nothing officially on the calendar we’ll add our own. The anniversary of our first date (February 4, 1977); our engagement anniversary (October 7, 1978); the day I became a citizen of the USA (February 15, 1985); our first day living in North Carolina (August 13, 2013) … and there is much more.
Wake Forest Presbyterian Church is much the same. The Sunday 3rd-graders get their Bibles; when we commision mission teams; Youth Sunday; recognizing grads day; Baptisms; every time we serve communion; ordination of elders… the list goes on.
Confirmation and the Holy Spirit:
Then, sometimes, we get an overlap and it’s celebration-palooza! That’s what happened this Sunday when we celebrated Pentecost and also welcomed twelve 8th-graders who wanted to make a public confirmation of their faith and choose to follow Jesus.
These young people met together – with a team of leaders – over the course of a year to study, to talk about what it means to be a disciple, to serve others, to get involved in mission and outreach, and to eventually write their own personal faith statements which they read to the church elders before being presented to the congregation.
Rebekah said she has never seen a group of confirmands listen so intently to a sermon as they did yesterday. “They have chosen to follow Jesus, to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and to trust Jesus with all their heart, all their soul, all their mind, and all their strength,” she said.
There was a baptism, too, and I love the way the other teens are so thoroughly engaged in the moment. It was Pentecost, and while you can see the Spirit represented by the dove on the banner behind her, God’s presence was more than symbolic it was real, palpable, life-giving, and transformational. Is real, is palpable, is life-giving, is transformational. Hovering gently, yes, but also coming like the rush of a mighty wind and filling our hearts with fire.
So enjoy the photos from 11:15 worship May 20, and – especially if you attend church somewhere where things feel stale – be encouraged. God’s Spirit is alive and active and vital, and life-giving here in the Presbyterian Church.
All we need to do is to humble ourselves, deepen our personal spiritual walk, share the Good News, let life and light fill us up to the extent that it spills out all over the place, and take God at God’s word.
In love, and because of love – DEREK