Across the Pastor’s Desk: Spirit is set loose into the world

Published 8:06 pm Thursday, May 17, 2018

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Don Rose

Don Rose


This Sunday, many within the Christian community will celebrate the second oldest festival of the Christian church year, the festival of Pentecost. According to the gospel writer known in the tradition of the church as Luke, Pentecost occurred  50 days after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. This festival celebrates the gift of God’s Spirit poured out upon believers to empower them to share the good news of the Savior with the world. Some talk about this day as if it were the first time that God’s Spirit at work among God’s people. God’s word reveals another truth.

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According to the witness of the scriptures, God’s Spirit was at work from the very beginning as the wind, breath or spirit of God moved over the chaos that preceded the created order. The Spirit was tied directly to the presence of God, whether in the temple in Jerusalem or in the incarnate word, Jesus. The story of the giving of the Spirit in the book of Acts is a story that witnesses to the presence of God’s Spirit no longer tied to one specific location or individual. Rather, now the Spirit is in the midst of God’s people. The Spirit freely given is now at work in the lives of all of God’s people. This means that the message and ministry of God’s love revealed in Jesus the Christ are multiplied by millions that good news can be carried to every corner of the world.

The celebration of Pentecost is a celebration of God in us and for us. No longer does one have to imagine that one must go somewhere exotic to be in the presence of God. God in the Spirit is with us always, pointing the world to the truth of salvation. The work of the Spirit is always to point beyond itself to the fullness of the revelation of God’s love for all creation in the Savior, Jesus the Christ. The Spirit sends God’s people into the world to be God’s presence for the sake of the world.

As Pentecost is celebrated, God’s people rejoice in the gift of the Spirit poured out for all to reveal the truth of God’s love in Jesus. At the same time there is the clear understanding that the Spirit will work to accomplish its purpose with us or without us, so let us pray that it is with us now and always.

Don Rose is pastor of Mansfield and United Lutheran Church.