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The Gift of God’s Holy Spirit

Hello Gloria Dei,

I recall very vividly the day of my ordination. July 22, 1990. It was one of the great moments of my life. St. Timothy’s Lutheran in San Jose, CA; a big gathering of congregation and family and friends and pastors. The Holy Spirit was at work. I’ll never forget it. The bishop laid hands on my head and I became a minister, a pastor.

This weekend we celebrate the Day of Pentecost. Pentecost is one of the three major festivals of the Christian church: Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.

As recorded in Acts chapter two, on that day of Pentecost the wind blew, tongues of fire appeared, and the Holy Spirit was set loose in the world. By way of the Holy Spirit working through the proclamation of Peter and others, the church began to grow in service to others, in numbers, and in the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit was at work creating faith. The Bible tells us that 3000 people were baptized that day in the name of Jesus. That same Holy Spirit has been loose ever since, bringing people to a deep faith in Christ, through the proclamation of the Good News.

Now let me ask you: Do you remember the day and time you got ordained? You, too, are ordained for ministry. You are a minister, a servant of the Gospel. Back in the early days of the church, a newly baptized Christian was given a new white robe. Many of you probably had on a white robe or outfit when you were baptized. It is symbolic of the new life given to you. The sign of the cross was made on your head and the promise of the Holy Spirit descending upon you was given. When you were baptized you were given a gift. God claimed you and began the work of ministry within you. And that gift is not our idea, it is God’s idea.

You may not hear a voice from the sky like Jesus did at his baptism, but your call happened at your baptism. God was there, calling your name, claiming you as his very own, and setting you free to live your life with the promise that God’s Holy Spirit is with you, empowering you to participate fully in the ministry of Christ.

The church that has on its bulletin board out front, “Pastor: George Smith. Ministers: the whole congregation,” has it right. All of us are ordained by God to be ministers. Pastors are trained and ordained to proclaim the word, to administer the sacraments, and to help equip all of you to do your ministry, at church, at home, at work, with other people and wherever it is that you live out your life.

So, in a way I said it wrong. The day I got ordained was not that summer day in 1990 when the bishop laid hands on my head and I became a pastor. Rather, the day I was ordained was way back on August 9, 1961 when the pastor dipped his hand in a bowl of water and put it on my head and I received the gift of the Holy Spirit from God himself. It was then that I became a child of God and a minister, named, claimed, called and equipped to live out the gospel.

I invite you to read Acts chapters one and two in preparation for worship this weekend. Together we will celebrate the unleashing of God’s Holy Spirit into the world and into our lives.

The color of the day is red, so feel free to wear red if the Spirit moves you.

See you in worship,

Pastor Tim

P.S. Just a reminder that we continue our Focus Groups to see if we are ready, as a congregation, to launch into a capital campaign for future expansion. Meetings happen after each of the three weekend services. You are invited. RSVP here. Focus Group childcare is available following the 9 a.m. service each week.

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