Rev. James Gtoleau: Celebrating the season of Pentecost
Published 8:27 am Monday, May 21, 2018
By Pastor James Groleau
St. John’s Lutheran Church
Pentecost is about celebration and celebration is what we are up to at St. John’s Lutheran. Jesus once said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” [Luke 10:2]. This Sunday, May 20, is called Pentecost Sunday. It is the most ancient festival of the Christian Church.
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It’s older than Christmas. It’s older than Easter! How can that be? Because the festival of Pentecost was instituted by God at the time of Moses and the Exodus (Leviticus 23:15-16). At that time it was a festival of the Spring harvest 50 days after Passover.
Now fast-forward about 1,500-2,000 years and we get to the time of Jesus. He died on the cross and rose again giving us new life and salvation. For 40 days He appeared to many to confirm that salvation has been won for all who believe. Then He ascended back into Heaven. 10 days later, on the day of the ancient Pentecost festival, the Holy Spirit came with the sound of a rushing wind and tongues of fire. There the wonder and power of God is revealed, and through the preaching of God’s mighty Word 3,000 people were Baptized (Acts 2).
That harvest continues even now. This past week we were blessed at St. John’s with the celebration of nine new souls being born from above though Holy Baptism. Baptism done as Jesus taught us. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (See Matthew 28:19). Which leads very well into the next Sunday which is Trinity Sunday, May 27.
On that day we will explore and celebrate how God has introduced Himself to us as the one, true, only, living God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That point has at times caused people some consternation. It’s hard to understand three persons in one God. Whom do you trust? Whom do you believe? The answer is important. On Holy Trinity Sunday we will explore where we can place our trust. We will learn that we can trust in the Words found in the Bible. They are God’s Words on every page and in every sentence. We can trust in Jesus’ work to save us. The Bible tells me so.
Then on June 3 the celebration continues still! Jesus once said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” On Sunday June 3 we will celebrate a ministry of 70-years of radio broadcast. A ministry St. John’s Lutheran Church has provided to the people of Austin, MN consistently though all of that time, calling souls to the harvest through God’s Holy Word preached and proclaimed each and every week. We boldly proclaim Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation (John 14:6). We are not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)
This world is a messed up place. You don’t need me to tell you that. In the Church we call that mess “sin.” Sin is more than just the bad stuff you do. Sin is our condition. We are stained to the very marrow of our bones with the tar of sin. The Bible says we are sinful from the very moment of conception (Psalm 51:5). Only Jesus can make us clean and He has done that. The Bible teaches that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from every sin (1 John 1:7). The Bible says “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved…” (Mark 16:16)
The world we live in can pull you down. It can make you feel like the future is futile. It is not. If you’re looking for answers or a Church family, come and join us. We’re spending the entire Summer learning about just these things. What does it really mean to be a Christian? What does being a Christian give me? Why would Jesus save me? Come hear about Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Through Him you can find peace. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).