When I was young, birthdays were always very special. As I get older they seem to come around all too quickly. The birth of a baby is very special, particularly the moment when a new life begins with all the potential that life could have. Our own births were unique. We are all very different from everyone else. That is the miracle of life.
The church has a birthday. Each year we celebrate the feast of Pentecost which is an old Jewish feast. The date varies as it is always seven weeks after Easter. The feast was originally a time to give thanks for the harvest and for the Ten Commandments.
After Jesu’s resurrection and subsequent ascension (forty days later) into heaven the Holy Spirit was given to believers on the day of Pentecost and the church as we know it today was born.
The Holy Spirit sounds a bit spooky, but He is simply the spirit of Jesus coming along side each of us. If we believe, He will become part of our lives. He brought so much life, power and love into the first believers that many others wanted to join. The Holy Spirit is who has enabled the church not only to survive, but to grow and grow over the last two thousand years.
As children, we were told if you want to become a Christian – you need to ask Jesus to come into your heart. What that actually means is this:- if we believe in Jesus (Romans chapter 10 verse 9) and choose to follow him, the Holy Spirit, or the spirit of Jesus will give us strength to live for God. We tend to mess things up! If you look at church history there are many examples of that. God in the form of the Holy Spirit helps get the church back on track. He helps us to be sorry, to forgive, to be more compassionate, to be patient, he even gives us insight and He fills us with joy.
As Pentecost approaches let’s all say “Happy Birthday” to the church and celebrate all the good that Christians have done under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit down through the ages.
The church will always have a future because the spirit of Jesus gives it new life in every generation.