Pentecost in 2016 happens during the United Methodist Church's General Conference, on May 15. It is the birthday of the church, a commemoration of the day when the power of the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in that Upper Room with a mighty wind and tongues of fire.
The disciples spoke in many different languages that day and proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ to people from a variety of cultures and lands. The Spirit gave the power for this proclamation to all people. That’s the fire and the wind part.
The Book of First Peter talks about stones. “Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals, yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (2:4-5)
We are born again by the power of the Spirit and we are called to work together as the church to be a collective spiritual powerhouse. Each of us is a stone with Christ as its cornerstone.
Many years ago I was involved in a renovation project of an old stone church building that had been built in 1846 and was abandoned in 1922. The roof has been burned off in subsequent years and many of the stones that formed the walls of this church had fallen out of place and were scattered on the nearby ground.
The stone mason we hired had a huge task of reassembling the walls. Each stone had a particular place. Some were large, some small, some had angles and sharp edges but all were needed for the structure to be recreated. We are like these stones, each unique, each important, all a part of the church.
How true of our United Methodist Church today! All are needed to do the work of ministry that began on the day of Pentecost. May we be a household of faith that offers “spiritual sacrifices” of praise and ministry in the world in the 21st century.
Only as we keep Jesus as our cornerstone will we stay together and stay strong as a church. We need to lean on the Holy Spirit for the power to overcome our differences so that all will know the saving love of the living Christ.