Monday, May 25, 2015

American Memorial Day is also Pentecost Monday

 Memorial day is a long tradition in America. It is one of remembrance of those who have fallen in American wars. I find it a good tradition to remember the freedoms we have as Americans as a result of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Germany also celebrates today a very good Church tradition. It is Pentecost. Germany has a long tradition of church holidays. Some are better than others. This one I find incredible. Pentecost is the celebration of when the Holy Spirit descended on the first believers in Jerusalem after Jesus ascension. What followed was one of the most powerful sermons ever preached. Peter preached powerfully in the name of Jesus, and explained to those standing there what was happening. Here's a bit of the passage.

"When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came
from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.
And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” 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. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel...

“...Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it...

...he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing...

...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?” 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. 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.” (Acts 2:1-16, 22-24, 31-33, 37-39 ESV)

This whole story is pretty amazing and incredible that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on the early Church like this, and even until this day when we believe in Jesus we receive that same Spirit at a guarantee of the gift of salvation. 

What I also understand about Memorial Day in remembering people that have given their lives to secure American freedoms, I find also in Pentecost. These holidays are one in the same in so much as Jesus has given His life to secure our Freedom, and the Holy Spirit is the promise of that Freedom in Christ. 

So today as you celebrate Christian freedom in Germany and American freedom in America, take a minute and seek the filling of the Holy Spirit as as a sign of the promise. "How am I filled with Holy Spirit"? you ask. I'm glad you asked, here is a passage that describes how we can be filled...

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." (Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV)


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