Sunday, May 23, 2010


Ironically, when I was a part of a pentecostal denomination, this day came and went virtually unnoticed. Now as a confessional Lutheran, I rejoice in Pentecost and all that it reveals to us, the church.

There is a church body in St. Louis, MO, that helped a great deal in my spiritual maturity, Hope Lutheran. One particular Sunday morning during the adult Bible study, we were taught about Pentecost. Now, it's one thing to start with a blank slate, but for me, it means wading through a lot of confusing doctrine from my past in order to grasp the truth.

Previously, Pentecost in my understanding meant: tongues of fire, speaking in tongues or a "spiritual language", a separate baptism of the Holy Spirit outside of water baptism, and a virtual "power boost" to your spiritual journey. It meant God giving revelations apart from scripture, randomly and with hyper emotionalism and often supernatural experiences. I was taught this second baptism was an individual's quest for higher spirituality... ultimately to seek the gift of speaking in tongues.

... but I digress...
Back to Sunday School

I listened to Pastor Asburry explain that the purpose of Pentecost was the proclaiming of God's Word, His Gospel, to His Church. He explained Pentecost in a way I could understand. He said, "We speak in tongues whenever we speak the Word of God." The miracle to focus on here is not that many languages were spoken by uneducated disciples (although a wonderful miracle to be sure), the miracle that needs our attention is that the Holy Spirit enabled sinful, spiritually deaf ears to hear and understand the message of Christ, His life, death and resurrection.

Sin will always block our understanding. Because of our sin we are unable to receive the Words of our Savior. Because of sin God's people were scattered at the Tower of Babel, languages confused and cultures divided. Today we remember that the Holy Spirit was sent to restore communication, to reunite the culture of the church from many different cultures, and to show that the Word of God is our common language.

Pentecost is no longer a confusing story from scripture. Quite the opposite, it is an account of spiritual clarity brought by the power of the Holy Spirit. Praise be to God.

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