Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Pentecost message - Dynamic witness - God's empowerment

The Promise-Keeping God
A hair-lip young man given a "new face" in Bolivia
A message at Pentecost 2015
Many a place is graced by gorgeous mountains and sun-drenched valleys.  The same is the case with human experience. It is a composite of inspirational moments, that we sometimes call mountain top experiences, and exasperating moments when we stagger through the valley of disappointment and pain. Moments of victory and times of suffering are part and parcel of what it means to live.
When we traverse the desert places of our times, we are often surprised by what triggers life's nightmares. Jolted by shock, shaken by dis
appointment, we ask why and often, despite our intense search, we find no satisfactory answers.
At Pentecost, we remember that, in the journey of life, we have an unfailing source of solace and empowerment. God's promises to Christ's disciples are always fulfilled. We have good reason  to trust God's word.
When God promised, through the prophet Joel (2:28-32), the outpouring of the Spirit in the last days, the disciples could believe it. When Jesus gave the assurance that the Father would send an advocate - the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-18) - the disciples could believe it. At Pentecost, the Spirit came like wind and fire and, with purging and cleansing power, revealed God's readiness to purify and heal those who stagger through life's arid moments unhinged from the reality of God's amazing love. We can discern in difficult moments the loving hand of the one who baptizes with wind and fire (Matthew 3:11).
It was Peter himself who made clear, in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, that the one who had been so terribly wronged was making things right for the people. He explained that God was forming a people for hope and life through the fulfillment of promise. This was realized in Jesus' death and resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit. And even those who had maintained a discreet distance from the center of the action during the passion of Jesus, could grasp, cherish and share the message of divine trustworthiness.
That is why Pentecost is a festival of dynamic witness. Those who have encountered the wind and fire of the Holy Spirit discover within themselves a passion for sharing the things they have seen and heard. Their life's transforming encounter with the faithfulness of a promise-keeping God compels them to share with others the Good News of the salvation God offers through Jesus Christ.
As we celebrate the Day of Pentecost, we remember those who have been traumatized by natural disasters and who now ponder what their future will be like. May our celebration of this Day be rich with the memory of the faithful God whom we serve. God never leaves us alone. God walks with us, reliably fulfilling promises made, unrelentingly making life new, and graciously placing in us the imprint of hope.
Neville Callam
General Secretary
Baptist world Alliance

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