Sunday, May 19, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Power of Pentecost

The Lord God took the man put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

The Context:
Today is Whitsunday in the liturgical calendar for celebrating Pentecost, which in the Old Testament times was a harvest festival, the ‘Festival of Weeks’, counting seven weeks from the end  of Passover (Leviticus 23: 16; Exodus 23: 16); later it became a  commemoration day of the Sinai covenant. This day is also important for Christians because, seven weeks after the resurrection of Jesus, during the day of Pentecost Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers for empowering them for God’s mission (Acts 2). Here we see God’s Spirit in action at the inauguration of the Church.
Today’s text is about the beginning of the world and man’s place in it; it emphasises the Biblical concept of the creation of the world. Human dignity is based on the imprint of ‘God’s image’ on man. Adam formed from the earthly elements becomes alive by receiving breath of God or His life giving Spirit. God not only creates but also sustains by giving man everything (water, plants, animals, labour, companionship and community) that he needs in the Garden of Eden, but asks him ‘to work it and take care of it’. Human stewardship over the rest of the creation is an unquestionable responsibility, which is clearly expressed here.
Divine Initiative: Whenever God is active in human affairs, the Bible speaks about His ‘Spirit’. The Sprit of God is said to have been hovering over the waters on the first day of creation (Genesis: 1. 2).  Whenever we see something being created mysteriously or progress being made against all road blocks and expectations or when we are forced to swim against the current, we have a natural inclination to say, God’s Spirit is at work. The Old Testament is a grand narrative of Spirit’s work through patriarchs, prophets, judges, kings and others for ‘healing a fractured a world.’ But in the New Testament, a new emphasis is given to the activity of the Holy Spirit; what is amazing now is that most ordinary people, most of them poor and uneducated, leading most commonplace lives, are influenced, shaken and possessed by the Spirit because of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and the resurrection (John 14).
How do we harvest the power of Pentecost?
Power of the Holy Spirit is its fruits: ‘love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentles and self-control’ (Galatians 5: 22). But we often think that such virtues can be obtained by our efforts; these are gifts of the spirit. It is only by emptying ourselves in repentance and in utter humility that we will be able to receive these gifts through God’s mercy and grace.

 Prayer: Our Father, help us to empty ourselves to receive the gifts of thy Spirit. Amen!

 Thought for the Day:  ‘Change a life and you begin to change the world.’

Dr. Zac Varghese, Sinai MTC, North London, UK