Final week of a six-week series called Expanding the Table.So when we say that Pentecost marks the ‘Birthday of the Church,” do we truly understand the meaning? It is okay when we don’t. Asking questions and discussing them is a great way for all of us to learn and grow in our faith. Meanings, both formal and informal, are important. Meanings help us define purpose, identity and belief. In Paul’s Letter to the Church in Galatia, he stresses God’s initiative. Unlike the deities worshipped in the ancient world, God was and is and will be involved in history and more importantly in the lives of people. God does not wait on humanity to instigate a reclamation project for itself. God, through the love and grace of Jesus and by the breath and gifts of the Holy Spirit, is already active. The Triune God is not hidden and far away, but is active, moving and dwelling with us and all of creation. That’s the celebration and joy and hope of Pentecost.
In this six-week series, we look at how the followers of Jesus after his crucifixion went from disciples to apostles. Jesus instructed them that they were to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. But this commission wasn't as easy as they anticipated. Conflict arose with the growing numbers of followers. They had to figure out how to be a gathered community of Jesus across the world. They had to discover what it means to expand the table. Being a follower of Jesus no longer meant that you came from a certain people, place, or nation.