Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pentecost: Memorial or Legacy

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly ...
Acts 2:1,2)

A memorial is something designed to preserve the memory of a person or event; therefore, a specific reminder. A legacy is something handed down from the past; a perpetual inheritance, endless in existence. Memorials are standing monuments, legacies are gifts of a LIFEtime. A memorial is also a written statement of facts or a petition presented to a sovereign, legislative body, or CEO.

Pentecost is both a memorial to a past event and a legacy of the present and future. The past lay a foundation upon which to build today for tomorrow. Pentecost, as an event, cannot be repeated. However, as experiencing its reality, there are many 'fillings' of the Spirit. Many just are content with remembering the past, but not God. From God's perspective, Pentecost is His living legacy, or will, to the church, His governing body. For the church, it is a factual statement and petition presented to God of our rightful inheritance.

Sudden things do not occur with stationary monuments, they happen with the releasing of a legacy.

Latin American Exodus

The Catholic Church in Latin America has embarked upon a "continentwide, great evangelical mission" in an attempt to reach out to the faithful, especially in their cities slum areas, where Protestants have been gaining converts. In so doing the Church hopes to stem the exodus tide from Catholicism to evangelicalism.

One billion Catholics live in Latin America but Pentecostal churches are seeing enormous growth in recent years. Brazil's census shows that the Catholic population dropped from 89% in 1980 to 74% in 2000, while evangelical Protestants rose from 7% to 15%. In Guatemala, the evangelical community represents almost 25% percent of the population.

The faithful poor are leaving the stale and inactive liturgy dedicated to the past for the personal and vibrant faith where God lives and acts through the Holy Spirit in daily life. In reinvigorating itself the Catholic Church must return to the basic tenets of Pentecost.

Pentecost's Continuum

This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. (Acts 2:32,33)

This is the legacy. The Holy Spirit! The Spirit is a continuum of the life and death, the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, being poured back into our lives to reproduce the same life and works. One part cannot be distinguished from the other; it's a whole.

Speaking of the Spirit Jesus promised, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:37-39) The fountainhead of these 'rivers of living waters' is Pentecost . These waters are living, not stagnant. He also said that the streams would flow from Jerusalem to the most secluded, remote, out-of-the-way places of earth. (Acts 1:8) Its grand earthly finale is discovered in Revelation 22:1 where it flows eternally.

When Jesus commented that the source of the rivers in the believer is his 'belly' he was referring to the area know anatomically as the solar plexus, a large network of sympathetic nerves located behind the stomach; the area where we really feel things, thus the pit of the stomach. Some has translated it as 'heart', as the 'heart of the matter'. The Spirit assists in the very core issues of life. And this is the area where the gift of tongues exists.

It is also interesting that in Peter's pentecostal message he confirms that of these things we are 'witnesses', someone who gives a firsthand account of something seen, heard, or experienced, furnishing evidence. We affirm our Christian faith, as a witness, being present when a spiritual transaction took place, and we sign our name, our life, to its authenticity.

Generational Blessing

We speak of generational curses but the promise of Pentecost is a generational blessing. God covenanted with Abraham to make of him a great nation, Israel, and through them "all peoples on earth" would be blessed. That blessing was fully realized with the coming and continuum of Jesus Christ through the New Covenant beginning at Pentecost. The blessing of Abraham is one of faith and the Holy Spirit. (Gal. 3:7-9, 14)

Isaiah spoke of the Gospel era in these terms, "As for Me," says the Lord, "this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants' descendants," says the Lord, "from this time and forevermore." (59:21) At Pentecost Peter reminded, "you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39)

We are blessed to be a blessing to, in, and with every generation! Let's be living legacies.



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