On Pentecost Sunday, I attended service at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in order to hear Bp. Fanuel Magangani of Northern Malawi preach. He is such a Godly man, and it was a joy to listen to him. The Saturday before, the World Mission Committee member of the Malawi sub-committee met with the bishop for a day of prayer, reflection, and planning. We will be celebrating twenty years of partnership between our diocese and the Diocese of Northern Malawi at an event on June 7 at St. Anne’s church in Fort Worth. I urge you to attend if you can.
We as members of the Body of Christ are called to live the Great Commission. In the book of Acts, chapter 1, verse 8, our Lord Jesus told the disciples:
“you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samar′ia and to the end of the earth.”In his sermon, Bp. Fanuel related this verse to our mission to the world. Jerusalem can be interpreted to mean those among us who are believers, who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and who are at work in his kingdom. These need to be continually taught the faith, and strengthened in their walk with the Lord.
Those in Judea can be interpreted as those who are like us, but not us, meaning those who believe, but their belief is incomplete. There are many who have unorthodox beliefs, who have been taught wrongly, and who need to hear that they are no longer under the Law of behavior, but are saved by grace through faith in Jesus alone.
Those in Samara can be interpreted in context, and for those in Malawi, it is the Muslims who have faith, but do not know Jesus as the Son of God. Many who are taught about Jesus come to accept him, and learn that the Law of Love is foremost in the plan of God.
Those toward the end of the earth can be interpreted to mean those who have not faith is God at all, who are unbelievers. These may not even know that there is a God who loves them and desires to show them his love. These may have some longing for God’s love, but do not know who he is. It is up to us to show them his love.
Pentecost is the fiftieth day of Eastertide (not 50 days after Easter, as is widely said) and it is on that day that we commemorate the gift of the Holy Spirit.
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.” Act 2:1-4
The apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to preach the Gospel in the languages of those who were present to hear it. The Good News that the Spirit of Christ wants to live in each and every one of us is not limited to your neighborhood, or your city, but it is for the whole world. We are the foot soldiers of this mission, and it is our primary duty at such to work to spread the Good News to everyone. Don’t worry about what you are to say, as God will give you the words. Simply be friendly and loving and let your light shine!