June 2, 2017
We just heard the amazing story of the Holy Spirit rushing among the disciples who had been praying together for fifty days. We think of Pentecost as the birthday of the Church, because it was on this day that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on those who were gathered. But for centuries, Pentecost had been a major Jewish festival, and people came from all over the world to celebrate it in Jerusalem.
The disciples had been huddled in an upper room together for weeks. Now they dispersed through the crowds, each speaking a different language. The people who had come from far and near each heard the Good News in their own tongue. As Peter preached to the crowds, thousands responded to the gospel and believed in Jesus as the Son of God.
This is where it all began. After Pentecost, there was no going back. Somehow, these new believers had to figure out how to be the Church, how to live and worship together in a new way.
It didn’t take long for conflict to emerge. Some thought faith should be lived out this way, and others thought it should be that way. There were arguments over worship and teachings and how to observe the Lord’s Supper. And because the church was made up of human beings, there were arguments over power and hierarchy.
Some thought that they had a corner on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that the gifts they had been given were somehow more important than “lesser” gifts. In the middle of all this conflict, the Church at Corinth sent a letter to the Apostle Paul, asking for some clarification. It’s a good thing for us that Paul wrote back. Continue reading