from the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of Reflections magazine
by Marjorie George
Colorful balloons and birthday cake and everyone wearing red to signify the giving of the Holy Spirit. It’s Pentecost Sunday — the day we recall that Jesus Christ sent his very own spirit to empower us, guide us, boost us on our way, and pick us up when we fall. The story is told in Acts chapter 2, where we read again the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that God will “pour out God’s spirit on all people” (2:28).
We remember also that after the Resurrection Jesus came to his followers and said — his last words in the Gospel of Matthew — that we should go into all the world and make disciples of all people (28:19). The Church takes that as the Great Commission
And then Paul reminds us — as he did the followers in the fledgling church at Rome — that there are still many who do not know about the overwhelming love of God. “But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed?” asks Paul. “And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?” We might add, “And what will they proclaim if they do not know the Word of God?”
But Moses and Bishop Reed tell us that God’s Word is very near to us. It’s on our lips and in our hearts. We don’t have to “send up to heaven” or “search across the seas” for it. It’s in print and online and accessible by apps on our phones. We can find it on Facebook and Twitter. Never in the history of man has it been easier to engage the Word. We can even listen to it in our cars as we drive across the state. Big state. Lots of driving. Lots of listening time.
And it’s not just for the learned clergy or the inspired missionaries to preach. God pours out God’s spirit on all flesh. But what will we say? we ask. “The Holy Spirit will teach you what to say,” says Luke (12:12)
But only if God’s Word really is on our lips and in our hearts. Only if we have immersed ourselves in Scripture beyond the four readings during worship each Sunday. Only if we have learned how our story fits into God’s story. Only if we can and will turn to Scripture when life or others ask us the hard questions.
We have what we need to change the world. We have the Word of God, and we have the power of the Holy Spirit. We dare not not proclaim what we have heard, what we believe, what we have been sent for.
Marjorie George is editor of Reflections magazine. Reach Marjorie at firstname.lastname@example.org.