“Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church-- about three thousand in all.” Acts 2:41 (NLT)
When I was a kid in elementary school I loved magicians. I remember going to an event for kids at my dad’s store and seeing a live magician for the first time. I was absolutely amazed. I couldn’t imagine how he was doing all of the things that he was doing. How did he make something disappear and then reappear? How could he turn one thing into another? It was fascinating to watch.
That Christmas my parents surprised me and gave me a magic set. It was full of magic tricks that I could learn to do myself. At first, I was excited to learn to be a magician. However, something happened. As I began to learn the tricks in my magic set, it became all too clear to me that the magician was just learning tricks. He hadn’t truly done anything magical at all. He just learned some tricks. That was the end of my magic career. I didn’t want to learn magic tricks, I wanted to be a part of some amazing.
This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. In Acts chapter 2 there is a story of something truly amazing that took place in human, and church, history. It wasn’t a magic trick, it wasn’t something learned, or even something practiced. God broke into human history in the power and person of the Holy Spirit and gave birth to the Church. The Holy Spirit fell upon all the believers gathered there. The Holy Spirit even was given to those who heard Peter’s first ever sermon and believed (about 3,000). What an amazing day that was!
This is a part of why I love being a part of the Church. The same God of Pentecost is the God of this Pentecost Sunday. God is still sending the Holy Spirit into the heart of those who believe in Jesus Christ. God is still giving the power necessary to see hearts and lives transformed through the sharing of the Gospel message. God is still using the Church to bring hope to a hurting world. God is still offering peace and reconciliation to those who live in a chaotic and broken world.
There is something amazing about the way God moves, but there is nothing magical. I have learned through my study of Scripture, the traditions of the church, the counsel of those who have journeyed with me, and my personal experience of faith that God is that amazing something that I longed to be a part of as a young kid. Magic had given me the illusion of something amazing. God has proven to BE amazing. This Sunday we will talk about how a Methodist gives thanks. What a fitting day, Pentecost Sunday, to reflect on what it means to give thanks for all God has done.
I look forward to sharing more about this with you in worship this week. Take a moment today to give thanks for all God has done in and through you because the Holy Spirit is in you. Can’t wait to see you in church!