Paintertown Evangelical Lutheran Church

Pastor's Letter

June 2017

“… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  

Acts 1:8 (NRSV)

You may remember the TV program, “A.D. The Bible Continues”.  Often, I am cautious about the “latest” religious offerings on TV, since many they take things totally out of the original context.

However, I began watching the movies (the showed the previous one was Jesus’ resurrection.) For the most part, they were compelling enough to keep my attention, and I truly did get totally captivated.

When it came time (following his ascension to heaven) for the disciples to go to Jerusalem (as he had told them), they did so.  It was the festival of Pentecost (“pente” meaning 50 days following the Passover.) Pentecost was a major Jewish festival and there were people from all over the known world, gathered in this place

So there they were - - behind closed doors, because the Romans and some of the Jewish leaders were already looking to persecute these followers of Jesus. They were uncertain as to what was to come.

I watched the movie, and wondered how it would interpret the Holy Spirit’s coming upon the disciples and the crowd of people who were near. And then… it happened.

The disciples were gathered together… Peter and the others weren’t sure what they were supposed to be doing, when one of the women who had been with the group, asked Peter, “What would Jesus tell us to do?”  Well… finally, Peter took the hint!

It began quietly… “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name…” they continued softly through the prayer.

Then… they began to pray their Lord’s prayer a little louder.  They repeated the Lord’s Prayer over, and over again… each time getting louder, until they were practically shouting.

All of a sudden… a great wind began within the room… and then continued outside. The wind was blowing so hard… and the prayers also gained momentum - - until what seemed like flashing flames (not really like harmful flames) began to dance around the room and the disciples!  

Oh… the excitement! I was on the edge of my seat, and I wanted to shout the Lord’s Prayer along with them!

The commotion inside reached those outside, and those outside began to hear the words spoken in their own language. Now remember - - people from all over the known world were assembled in Jerusalem. And… each one could understand the messages which were being given!  WOW!!! (I get the chills as I am typing this!)

OK - - so, how does this relate to today - - about 1989 years later?

Let me tell you!!!  How often do we just recite the Lord’s Prayer without even thinking about it?  One of the things we do at Sunday School Closing, is to pray and end with the Lord’s Prayer. We usually end with a shouted “AMEN!” Sometimes, the children swaying their arms in the circle as we pray.  It brings a sense of reality to the prayer… and then - as we close - the AMEN is loud and long! 

Sometimes, we need to get out of our “Prayer-rut”, and experience our connection with God in a new way. Not that we have to shout each prayer - - but sometimes… we need to do something a little different, and observe how the Holy Spirit can speak to - - and use - - us… in new ways.

As Immanuel and Paintertown continue seeking the Spirit’s guidance toward a shared ministry,  let us… GIVE GOD THE GLORY!  AMEN!!!

Shalom - Peace, Love, Hope

Pastor Dorothy