It's Pentecost Sunday and I believe with all of my heart God wants us to wake up. Waking up is NOT about fighting for our rights in this country. The Church has survived much worse through the centuries, but to "be" Jesus by loving others and leading them to the Truth and eternal life.
Yesterday I went to an event where we said farewell to our District Supervisor, Pastor Fernando Castillo. He shared a message and we took communion together. He shared on those hours in the dark of night when Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane. When Jesus asked the Father if it was possible for this cup to pass from him.
This was probably one of the most human-like moments in Jesus’ life. When the Father was silent. It was then he went to his disciples. Jesus had invited them to keep watch while he prayed. When Jesus went to them, he found them sleeping. It says, "Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. He said to them, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40-41 NIV)
I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me and remind me of an earlier incident when the disciples were in the midst of a storm. They thought they were going to die. After all, it was Jesus who told them to go to the other side, so where was he? Mark 4:37-38 says, "A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Jesus immediately got up and told the storm "Peace. Be still!" (Mark 4:39)
Jesus knew that it was not his time to die and that nothing was going to happen to them. Jesus, being God, knew that it was not going to be the end of them. But now, that night had finally come and Jesus knew it was his time. And when he needed these men, the men he had shared life with for 3 years to be there for him, they were asleep.
The Holy Spirit then prompted me with the passage in Romans that says, "And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh." (Romans 13:11-14 NIV)
The common thread in Matthew 26 and Romans 13 is it's time to wake up and our flesh is weak! At that moment during Fernando's message, my spirit awoke! It was like literally a light bulb turned on! I realized that Jesus is inviting us now to keep watch, to partner with Him now.
Today, we celebrate the birth of the Church known as the Day of Pentecost. The history of the beginning is found in Acts 2. Jesus had ascended and the Holy Spirit arrived. He has been with us for centuries. The Church, even through history is still thriving, yet many of us are a sleep. We've become comfortable being served so much that we don't know how to serve. The early Church met the needs of one another. Today we choose churches that meet our needs instead of where can we serve. Especially now that we are beginning to regather after being quarantined to our homes for over a year.
I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, "It's time to wake up Jayme! You've been a sleep too long." It's like in 2020 we were taking a nap (a COVID coma) and it's one of those naps that when you wake up you're still tired because you really didn't rest. We've been doing things in our own strength. It's time to invite the Holy Spirit to wake us up and turn on the light so we can shine in this fearful dark world. If there was ever a time for the Church to be the church, it’s in this hour!
There are many who aren't returning to church, some that have found that Sunday mornings are better for sleeping in and brunch. Just as it was that night in Gethsemane, the hour has come for us. When Jesus comes to get us, lets not let Him find us sleeping! It's time to watch and pray and be Jesus to a world that's dying.
In name of Jesus, wake up and let your light shine so that men may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven! (Matthew 5:16)