Time to Reboot!

I am a movie fan-- no surprise there.  I am always fascinated at just how unoriginal Hollywood can be sometimes.  Several summers ago there were two movies about giant asteroids coming to destroy the earth.  This summer it's all about super hero movies: Thor.  Green Lantern.  Captain America.  X-Men.  One trend that continues is the "reboot" of franchise: meaning taking a formula that has worked well before and restart from an earlier point.  The Batman franchise rebooted itself in 2005 with Batman Begins, which was excellent, then spurred off 2008's epic sequel, one of the best all time, The Dark Knight.  I am already excited for next summer's The Dark Knight Returns.

Other recent reboots have been three Star Wars movies (1999, 2002, 2005); 2009's great Star Trek; and even new Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street movies.  (I don't recommend those.)  Last week a good movie buff friend and I went to see X-Men: First Class, a reboot.  It was very good.  One thing you know about Hollywood: if the formula works (read: $$$), it will keep with it!

The reboot idea got me thinking a little about this Sunday.  It's Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate the beginning of the movement that would become the Church.  We wear red on Pentecost, remembering the fire of the Holy Spirit, which came upon the disciples as they gathered together in Jerusalem.  In a sense, this became a reboot.  A chance to start over with a boldness, a newness of life, vision, and purpose, that helped to transform the world forever.  As the Spirit led them, they went about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ (read Acts 2 and beyond).

Also this week we'll wrap up the Three Simple Rules series, with Wesley's third General Rule: "Stay in love with God."  Attend to those disciplines of the faith (regular worship, prayer, study, service, fellowship, support of the overall ministry) that help us to continually grow in Christ.  The text we'll use is Galatians 5:16-26.  Paul sets up an interesting sort of "before and after" picture of the Christian: Put away the "before Christ" attitudes and actions (there are a bunch of them)-- things like strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, etc.  Instead, put on the "after Christ" characteristics-- what we commonly call the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

We sang it together last week in worship: "They'll know we are Christians by our love."  Love is evidence of the Spirit.  Pentecost is about the gift of the Spirit to the Church.  The Spirit transforms our thoughts and actions, if we allow it.  We stop being angry, jealous, creating factions and dissension.  We start having joy, show faithfulness, and promote kindness and peace within the church and community.  The Spirit reboots us-- gives us a fresh, clean start.  A chance for renewal.  Like the disciples, we must say YES to the Spirit's work.  So: let's make it very simple: Look over the events of the past week.  Think of the conversations you've had, the emotions you have felt, your attitudes.  Is your life evidencing the work of the Spirit this week?  The things you have done and said this week: reflecting Christ or not?

I hope to see you Sunday, not just because it's our last Sunday at PUMC, but because Pentecost is about the universal Church for all time.  Wear something red to reflect your knowledge and understanding of the Spirit in your life.  And may all of us live according the work of the Spirit in us.  Put an end to the negativity you see in yourself and others.  It blocks the Spirit-- it's all people will see.  Instead, put on the fruit of the Spirit-- let everyone see how God has changed your life-- and how you are using your "reboot" to make your family, the church, and your community better.  Live love, joy, and peace.  Live patience, kindness, and generosity.  Live faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Live in the Spirit!