The Good News is for everyone

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The story of the Day of Pentecost is told for us in Acts 2. Amid the extraordinary flames and miraculous speech, it would be understandable if we missed the point of our celebration today.

On this day, the disciples were able to speak in other languages (Acts 2:4). But that’s not the only miracle of language that day. The devout Jews from every nation who were there – people who would have spoken many different languages – were able to hear speech in their own languages. They received a miracle of understanding (Acts 2:6).

And of course, the Holy Spirit descends on the church dramatically, showing up as divided tongues of fire (Acts 2:3). Wow.

Before Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at his Father’s right hand, he promised the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was not abandoning his church, but rather promising the arrival of a new companion, a guide and teacher. That promise is still good, and we today have the benefit of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Day of Pentecost, then, celebrates at least two great truths. First, our church is never alone. If we are willing to stop talking and listen, we might just hear the Holy Spirit calling us to new adventures for the Gospel. The Spirit will lead us, if we’re willing to be led. Today we give thanks for God’s presence with us in the Holy Spirit.

But there is another truth. At first, the Gospel was for a few people. The Gospels and the Book of Acts tell the unfolding story of the breadth and depth of God’s grace and mercy in the Gospel. The Gospel is for all nations, for all sorts and conditions of people. The miracle of language shows us that by God’s power, we can speak to all people. And by God’s power, we can hear all people.

This year, with increasing division in our world, we need this gift anew. We need to trust God to help us speak the truth of the Gospel to a world that is yearning for hope, purpose, and meaning. Imagine trusting God to help us understand the speech of those who seem impossibly different from us.

Today is a good day to remember that the Holy Spirit is not a metaphor for our feelings. When something goes the way we liked, it does not necessarily equate to the Spirit “showing up.” No, we’ll know we’ve been led by the Holy Spirit when we find ourselves in places we could not imagine going or doing things we could not imagine accomplishing.

We need the Holy Spirit. Today. All of us, individuals and churches. Let us give thanks for the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. And let us pray for the courage to pay attention to the Holy Spirit in all things.

The Gospel is not just for us and those that we find it easy to connect with. The Gospel is for everyone. By God’s grace and power, we can share the Good News of Jesus Christ with every nation, language, and people.

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