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Day of Pentecost | Sunday, June 8, 2014

Scripture Reading: Acts 1:6–8
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NRSV)

I can’t imagine what was running through the disciples’ heads when Jesus told them that God’s plan wasn’t for them to know, but it had to be something along the lines of outrage and dismay. They had thought Jesus was back to lead them; rather than fumbling along trying to discern what God wanted them to do, they could just sit back and take orders. Wouldn’t that be for the best for them—for us?

But Jesus knows better. Without any sort of responsibility, our following his orders would be fruitless. Think of Christ ordering the disciples to stay awake in the Garden of Gethsemane. Not only did they fall asleep, but they soon abandoned him. Without the chance to experience ministry firsthand—to wrestle, to struggle, to be inspired, to love—our devotion may be just as fleeting.

Instead, we are challenged to receive the Holy Spirit and be witnesses. Acts records the empowering of the disciples and all of Jesus’ followers as they spread out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. Amazingly, the same people who had fled when Jesus was arrested prove to be willing to die spreading the Gospel.

What a gift it is that we are entrusted with God’s ministry—to spread the good news and to be witnesses for Christ. What a joy that we don’t merely take orders but are called to be partners in restoring the kingdom.

God, I am grateful that you have entrusted me with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Empower me to live out your call each day of my life. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Minister for Children and Families

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