Wednesday Meditation (Acts 2:1-4)
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
This coming Sunday is Pentecost. Essentially Christians can celebrate the day as the day that Christians began witnessing the risen Christ as the Lord and Saviour of the world. From this point on, with the Holy Spirit on them, Christians began this new mission to the ends of the earth.
In the past few centuries, Christians, especially those who are very committed to this project of spreading the good news to the ends of the earth, have claimed that our task is not really finished and that we still have a long way to go. This is based on the fact that more than half of the world population consider themselves to belong to religions other than Christianity.
In the past half century, Christians in Canada and Europe began a new project of sharing the Gospel of Christ with those who are no longer Christians in their own neighbourhoods. After all, they are keenly aware that with each passing day, there are less and less Canadians and Europeans who claim to be Christians. Our empty seats in churches show this.
At the moment, churches in Europe and North America are declining in number, but churches elsewhere are growing. Yet, growing is not necessarily good. As we have seen in Europe and North America, Christians and our ways of faith have lost credibility. What Christians in other continents are doing will also go through the similar path of growing and waning. Often the main difficulties are due to many enterprising Christians who misuse the Christian Gospel to enrich themselves. Add to this the abuse and corruption church leaders have committed through history makes it difficult for anyone to be Christian.
This does not mean that Christianity is dying or dead. Indeed, Christianity is alive and well, not often in growing and rich churches, but among people who are dedicated to follow Christ secretly by loving God and neighbours. Those who follow Christ do not use Christianity to enrich themselves or benefit in any way using the name of Christ. Instead, those who are full of the Spirit love as Christ loved. They witness Christ through their words and deeds. In other words, they walk the talk.
Christians love to quote Jesus and say that the time of harvest is here, but we do not have enough labourers. More than ever, we have been working with people who do not belong to any churches. Many people come for help. Some are looking for food. Some are looking for money. Others are asking for English classes.
I know some churches see their visits as God-sent opportunities to evangelize and invite people to become Christians. Some provide services these people are looking for in hope of eventually asking them to become like them. It makes sense. These people in need come. We can provide the Good News of God in order to help them become Christians someday. The whole idea is that if we sow a seed with kindness and gentleness, perhaps, they would be open to the Gospel on the account of our good works. This is the formula Christians used throughout centuries.
This thought about showing kindness in order to attract strangers to Christianity sounds alright on paper, but has many difficulties. People who are in need may enjoy our kindness, but when their needs are fully met, they move on. They do not feel that it is necessary to pay back what they received. We may become upset over this notion, but if we think carefully about this, we know that we do not put conditions on our kindness. In other words, our kindness is a gift, not a commodity that we require payment for our kindness and willingness to help.
It is very frustrating and difficult when we feel like we are taken advantage of by these people who seem to appreciate only when they get something from us. We sometimes feel that our kindness and willingness to help ought to be reciprocated by them becoming Christians.
One thing to remember is that we do not share the Gospel of Jesus Christ by saying that people ought to become Christians because we are extra nice to them. Our kindness and willingness to help are simply the way we are. We do not require them to pay us back by becoming Christians.
The other thing to remember is that those who become Christians are ones who know Christ’s voice. That is, even if they do not know Christ, they are already inclined to hear the voice of Jesus as the voice of their Shepherd, Teacher, Friend and Saviour.
Challenges of Being Ever New
Eternal life begins in this life. From the moment of baptism, we enjoy eternal life. That means, our life is part of ever old and ever new life God created. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning, the world is ever new to us. This is not because the world around us changes, but because each day when we wake up we participate in the very life of God ever new.
Cinnamon Bun Tuesdays
Cinnamon Bun Tuesdays are here. Please come and join us for this wonderful fellowship. We thank Gail and Linda for hosting us every Tuesday with smiles, coffee, tea and, of course, warm-right-out-of-the-oven cinnamon buns.
The first Sunday of June is our communion Sunday. Please join us. Prepare your hearts. Come and be part of Christ’s community.
June Birthday Party
For everyone whose birthday is in June, the first Sunday is the day we give God thanks for your presence with us. It’s a fancy way of saying we want to have a party on account of your birthday. Come and join us for the party after the service.