the church is the people

last sunday was pentecost sunday, the day Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit (not his creation) to the disciples, creating the church. it's sort of the birthday of the church. for children's time i showed different styles of churches, including one with lots of faces inside. i told them the church is not the building, but the people inside. you remember the words of the classic hymn: "i am the church, you are the church, we are the church together..."

in the sermon i mentioned the tower of babel story (genesis 11), when the people of the earth got together and decided to show off how great they were by building a monumental tower to the heavens. God punished them by forcing everyone to speak different languages. i compared that (not very clearly, unfortunately) to the pentecost story of acts 2, where the Spirit came to the disciples, inspiring them to go into the streets and preach Christ in the native languages of the pilgrims in jerusalem (not to be confused with speaking in tongues). the point i failed to state clearly was this: at pentecost God restablished a common language for humanity, where all could hear the good news of Christ.

yesterday was a great example of how the members of prosper united methodist church live out the actions of pentecost. early yesterday morning, a violent storm ripped through prosper, knocking out power all over town, including the church. a vacation bible school planning meeting was going on when the electricity failed. did they discontinue? no. they kept on going.

last sunday, a longtime member of the church, who had been seriously ill for years, died. we planned to a lunch for the family at noon before the funeral service. without electrical power (electrical power is very different from Spirit power!), those who volunteered their time went about cooking, setting up, and making the church feel like home to a grieving family. they did this by candlelight and the dim efforts of emergency lights in the hallways.

thankfully the power was restored about 11:45, just before the family arrived for lunch (thank heaven for small miracles!). the meal and the service went well, a result of the church serving one of its main functions, meeting the needs of others. who knows what will happen during the week of vbs that was birthed yesterday in the darkness. i am thankful to be part of a congregation that really understands, and lives, as it was designed-- not by an earthly architect, but a divine one.

filled with the Spirit's power with one accord the infant church confessed its risen Lord. o Holy Spirit, in the church today no less your power of fellowship display!


DogBlogger said…
Wonderful. Thanks for sharing how you see the Church at work in the world!
Unknown said…
Frank! Great to see you on the web! I found you on Methodist Blogroll, and I think I got there from Wes Magruder's site. Go see my blog!