June 9, 2019

Friends ,

According to Scripture and the Christian story, the death of Christ surely drained the life out of the Christ’s disciples as they were devastated at seeing their hopes and dreams destroyed before their eyes. Shortly after that event they began to hear the rumors about a resurrection. Then they actually heard the accounts from those who encountered Christ after the empty tomb was discovered. We read the accounts in the gospels about Mary Magdalene, Peter and John, the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Each of these stories recounting their experience and conversations with the risen Christ. We can only imagine the confusion and skepticism that filled the lives of his followers as they listened to others’ outlandish tales about what they had seen and heard. Naturally, they were discouraged at the death of Jesus and at the same time encouraged by the stories of the resurrected Christ. As a result they were not convinced about actually took place so the Christian movement was stagnant.

We don’t know exactly what happened next, but something took place that lifted their spirits and gave them the ability and conviction to begin preaching the good news of Jesus life, death, and resurrection.

The event or events that gave them their courage we call the Pentecost experience. They remembered that Jesus told them he would send his Spirit to be among them and that they would and could be responsible for spreading the gospel empowered by that Spirit.

The Pentecost story tells us that his disciples were gathered together and had lost their motivation to preach. However, they had their minds and hearts opened by an experience that we call the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Peter stood among them and quoted the prophet Joel’s prediction about the power of God’s Spirit and what could be accomplished among those who believed.

Once they left this room life was never the same. They now had the desire and passion to bring the good news to people of all nations and to tell that story in many different languages. They were now true believers: they had their faith in God, their relationship with Jesus and the authority of the Holy Spirit. They believed that nothing could stop them from sharing the gospel story. These events took place 2000 years ago and Christianity has had its peaks and valleys over the past 2 millennia.

Today, we know that God’s Spirit is not limited to any one religion or the people of any one nation. That Spirit is available to any who open themselves up to experiencing the presence of God in their lives.

The disciples believed that God’s Spirit made them capable of accomplishing the impossible.  I still believe that.

Enjoy life!
Father Coyne

 

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