June 4, 2017: I don’t go to Church; I am the Church

Posted on : Jun 1st, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Several years ago, at a conference I attended, I saw the greatest slogan on a T-shirt.  It read: “I don’t go to Church.  I am the Church.”

Those words have stuck with me ever since.

This Sunday is the celebration of Pentecost.  Penta, from which our word Pentagon is derived means five or in this case, fifty.  It’s a celebration 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus.  In and of itself the name doesn’t mean much.  But in the history of the church, it’s a super high-powered day.  It is the day in which we celebrate God’s giving the Holy Spirit to us.

The Holy Spirit is both the comforting presence of the Risen Christ and the power of God to change the world.  In the book of Acts, the giving of the Holy Spirit is described as an experience in which people from every nation were gathered together and actually heard each other – understood each other – as children of one God, as one community of faith – even though they spoke different languages.  Dear God, could we use that today!

As the story goes, on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit blew wide open the doors behind which the disciples were hiding.  They no longer feared for their lives.  Instead, they found their spiritual mojo and the rest is history.  That you and I know anything about the life and faith of Jesus is totally because of the continuous presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, who together have become known as “the Church.”

But somewhere along the line the meaning of Church changed from “the Body of Christ” – as in, people embodying Christ, to an institution.  Church is not an institution.  It’s not a building.  It’s people.  People embodying the Love of God and the Justice of Jesus or the Justice of God and the Love of Jesus.

There are 168 hours in a week.  Only one of them is spent in church.  The other 167 we are sent to be the church.

This Sunday and during the summer, our worship focus is going to be on “being the Church.”  I hope there will be many memorable and inspirational ideas that come forth for you, but if you don’t remember anything else, remember this:  “I don’t go to Church.  I am the Church.”

May the Holy Spirit Bless us and Empower us this Sunday and always,


 ~ This Sunday’s Scriptures ~

Luke 24: 44-53

Jesus blesses the disciples and is parted from them.

And Jesus said to them (the disciples), “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in Christ’s name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  And I am sending the promise of our God upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Then Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and with uplifted hands blessed them.  While blessing them, Jesus parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.  And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.

Acts 2:1-18

Luke (the presumed writer of the book of Acts) describes the day of Pentecost, when worshipers were filled with the Holy Spirit.

1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “People of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17  ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,

     that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,

       and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

     and your young men shall see visions,

       and your old men shall dream dreams.

18  Even upon my slaves, both men and women,

       in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy!

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