God’s big story has brought us to the cross and to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. How good it has been to celebrate the power of the Easter story together. Following a week’s break we pick up the story again as we head into the New Testament.
This weeks readings take us back to the very beginnings of the church, to the day of Pentecost and to the powerful fulfilment of that great promise made to Abraham back in Genesis Ch 12. To the gift of the Holy Spirit who is now ‘poured out’ on all people, from all nations, race and background.
Pentecost was a harvest festival, an opportunity for thankful worshippers to offer to God the first fruits of their crops. Celebrated 50 days after the Passover, coinciding with the anniversary of the giving of the Law, it also became associated with the covenant made between the Lord and his people at Sinai. The nation that was constituted at Sinai, gathering together in Jerusalem to renew their relationship with God is now, so many years later reborn – literally the first fruits of a new harvest, a new chapter, a new beginning, as God pours out his Spirit on all people to ratify the new covenant that was promised by the prophets of Joel and Jeremiah the Old Testament.
Something momentous has happened that all hinges on the ministry, death, resurrection and exultation of Jesus Christ. All culminating with the wonderful invitation that ‘all’ who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. You cannot but sense the power of this great story.
New communities are formed that are marked by a new kind of ‘togetherness’, faith begins to engage with society, faith gets lived out on the public stage and the church begins to grow as the story of Jesus is told.
Throughout the book of Acts God once again takes centre stage, together with the exalted Christ and the powerful Holy Spirit as God’s story continues to unfold. New creation has begun and what a story we have to share.
My prayer is that the story of the early church will excite us and encourage us as it reminds us once again, that God is on the move. Let’s allow ourselves to get caught up with the scale and the scope of this great story, a story that will eventually result in the worship of God to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)