This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost which is so named for the fifty days since Jesus’ resurrection. Instead of writing a reflection on its significance, I am including the scriptural account of Pentecost from Acts, Chapter 2:
1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel*: 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ […] 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them,“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
You can also learn more about Pentecost here.
Rejoicing in the Holy Spirit with You,
In some ways, Easter seems like it was just yesterday, but in others, it seems like it was ages ago. The ebbs and flows of the church calendar tend to have that effect on my sense of time. But something that stops me each year in the post-Easter season is Ascension Day. The celebration of Jesus’ ascension into heaven has its roots in the earliest days of the church on the 40th day after Easter Sunday, which was yesterday, Thursday, May 5, this year.
What about the Ascension gives me pause? Well, honestly, it’s one of those stories in the Bible that I have a hard time wrapping my head around. It seems like a pretty incredible and unbelievable thing. Of course I absolutely trust the veracity of the Bible’s account of this and other miraculous events, but it does give me pause nonetheless.
But it’s not just the wonder, amazement, and miraculousness of this event that prompted the apostles and early church to institute this celebration as a part of the church year. What does the Ascension teach us about who Jesus is and our place in His Kingdom? When Jesus ascended into heaven, He was seated at the right hand of the Father. He returns to the place from which all of humanity had previously been barred because of our sin, to reign as the King of kings over all the earth and to prepare a place for us to live with Him and His Father for eternity. Not only this, but God “made us alive together with Christ—by grace [we] have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:5b-6). So not only is this something that we have to look forward to for eternity, but we have power, assurance, and identity in that position now. This is amazing and good news!
While the Ascension is the last thing that Jesus did in His earthly ministry, He was not finished with those who were left on earth. He promised that the Holy Spirit would come and baptize them as they had been baptized with water, and He delivered on that promise just ten days later on the day of Pentecost (which we’ll celebrate nextSunday, May 15). But He had said repeatedly that the Holy Spirit would not comeuntil He returned to His Father in heaven.
So this Sunday, we’ll sing songs and say parts of our liturgy that recount this part of Jesus’ story. My prayer for you and for myself is that in doing so we might inwardly digest this oft-looked over part of Jesus’ time on earth, await with holy anticipation His return “in the same way as you saw him go,” (Acts 1:11) and get a foretaste of our eternity united with Him and His Father in heaven.
This weekend we welcome the Dean President of Trinity School for Ministry, The Very Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry to Resurrection. Justyn, a gifted pastor and teacher, has been serving as Trinity’s Dean President for the last 8 years. In that time he has strengthened the faculty, increased enrollment, expanded online courses, and successfully led a $15.3 million dollar capital campaign.
Trinity School for Ministry is an Anglican seminary in the evangelical tradition. Established in 1975 under the leadership of Bishop Alf Stanway, Peter Moore, John Guest, J.I Packer, and John Rodgers, Trinity has trained over 400 rectors and church leaders in its short history. A key part of
the Anglican renewal movement, Trinity is uniquely positioned to train leaders for the next generation of Anglican churches.
I had the privilege of receiving my Master of Divinity at Trinity in 2005. Resurrection hired summer intern Ethan Harrison from Trinity last summer. We will also welcome 2016 Trinity graduate David Pennylegion to our staff as a pastoral resident in July. Resurrection annually supports Trinity financially and recently made a $10,000 pledge to the Trinity Campaign from our outreach tithe.
Justyn Terry has been a stalwart ambassador for the gospel, for Anglicanism, and for Trinity School for Ministry. He will be stepping down from leadership in June to return to his native England to pursue pastoral and teaching leadership in the Church of England. I am currently serving on the search team for the new Dean President.
It is a wonderful privilege to have Justyn with us this weekend before he leaves Trinity. Please join me in welcoming him and praying that the Lord richly blesses him, Trinity, and our weekend together.
About the ResBlog
Members of staff and Vestry will be posting on the ResBlog to help us think through who we are in light of the gospel so that we might “spur one another on to love and good deeds.”