Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Throughout the ages, the people of God have treasured and celebrated this wonderful day in the Church Year. On Pentecost, Almighty God fulfilled His beautiful promise to us in the sending of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2 records this powerful moment and the resulting conversion of thousands of souls through the preached Word and the working of His Spirit. Nearly 2000 years later, the Christian Church holds dear this life changing moment and the continued blessing for it. In the 1500's Dr. Martin Luther, writing in the Small Catechism, would elaborate upon the blessed work of the Holy Spirit as he explained the third article of the Apostles' Creed. Luther wrote:
The Third Article: Sanctification
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
What does this mean?
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.
In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.
In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.
As in the 1st Century, we are Christians today because the Holy Spirit has entered our lives through Word and Sacraments. The gift of faith is just that; a beautiful gift made possible as the Holy Spirit creates faith in our hearts. A faith that holds dear and confesses Jesus Christ as our precious Savior and Lord. The continual working of the Holy Spirit in our lives enables us to confess Jesus as the Christ; bear fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5) and utilize the gifts of the Spirit in service to others and to the glory of Almighty God (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4). Even in our weakest moments of faith, the Holy Spirit is at work literally interceding to God for us (Romans 8).
Jesus promised that He would not leave us as orphans but would send us a Comforter that would abide with us forevermore. The Holy Comforter appeared on Pentecost in fulfillment of that sacred promise. We treasure and celebrate Pentecost because God is boldly saying to His children, "I love you and will continually be with you; upholding your faith and trust in Me and sustaining you in the midst of life's greatest challenges!
Praise be to God for the gift of Pentecost!!!
Pastor Michael McFarland