March 8, 2018

By Rev. Erin McPhee, Bishop First UMC, North District

Acts 2:42-43

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.

In Acts 2, following the arrival of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the Apostle Peter preaches a sermon that resulted in 3000 people being saved. If only our sermons would be so effective, right?

As much as we may hope we could replicate the work of the Holy Spirit in the early church, we instead watch and pray, seeking the ways that God is working in and through our own faith communities here and now. The Holy Spirit’s work in our places of ministry may be exciting and miraculous, or it may be the slow and steady process of nurturing lives in faith and service.

During the season of Lent, we prepare ourselves to follow Jesus more fully, both as individuals and as a community. The early church’s witness teaches us to devote ourselves to the study of Scripture, fellowship, sharing the sacraments, and praying together. Our Wesleyan tradition also teaches us to practice our faith through acts of piety (worship and devotion) and acts of mercy (compassion and justice). These are practices that we all know are important – but it is easy, especially during this busy season, to let them fall by the wayside.

As we journey toward the cross, may we devote ourselves once again to following Jesus by opening our hearts to all of the ways that God is seeking to empower us to share the Gospel; opening our minds to our Awesome God, who is still speaking and acting in Cal-Pac, just as in Jerusalem two thousand years ago; and opening our doors to all the people that God will do wonders and signs among here and now. Hold on tight – this is just the beginning.

Prayer: Awesome God, we thank you for the miraculous ways that you work in and through our faith communities to share the Gospel and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Help us to devote ourselves to Your work, and open our eyes to the ways that wonders and signs continue to happen among us today. Amen.