“Happy Birthday Church!” Many years ago I was surprised to hear a minister begin his sermon with these words. And then I remembered it was the Day of Pentecost.
This year we are celebrating our “birthday” on 5 June. Our local fellowship is going to revive a custom which we had to abandon during Covid 19. We will be serving refreshments after service – a well-timed birthday party.
That special Day of Pentecost – ten days after Jesus’ ascension was a spectacular occasion. The sound of a great wind rushing through the house, followed by tongues of fire resting on the head of each of the apostles. This was the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the New Testament church. We are admonished to stir up the Spirit in us.
A few nights ago I did a small experiment. I dropped a teaspoon of sugar into a glass of water. After a minute I tasted the water but it wasn’t sweet at all. Then I stirred the water for a while and what a difference! In his second letter to Timothy, Paul says “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands (2 Timothy1:6) The NIV translation puts it a little differently .”For this reason I urge you to fan into flame the gift of God…”
Many of us have watched a braai fire dying but fanning the flames has got it going again. So how does God expect us to keep the Holy Spirit alive and working within us?
Bible study, prayer, fasting and meditation are still the basic tools we need. Christian fellowship is also vital. I have known a few people who have decided to go it alone, but inevitably they have joined the body of Christ somewhere after a while.
So as we meet together this Sunday, let’s enjoy our birthday party and let the spiritual gifts become apparent in our conversation and relationships. It’s about half an hour’s drive from where I live to where my church meets, but it’s worth it over and over to be with my spiritual family.