Today is Pentecost. For you faithful churchgoers this is where your pastor or liturgist reads from Acts 2:4 and a sermon is preached on the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church.
But Pentecost is so much more than that.
The Holy Spirit came to reside in our hearts on Pentecost. There was no more separation between us and God and Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit we joined in the divine dance (wish I came up with that one, it is all Richard Rohr)
At Pentecost we became the Temple. We became the place God resides. We became the church no matter where we are or who we are with.
If this is true, then how do we live?
I read this verse in Corinthians and it blew me away. For all my life I’ve been a churchgoer. Swallowing the church-as-building pill and wanting to invite people to a place. This place isn’t God’s plan at all because the church is within each of us. Each person who receives the Holy Spirit is the church and wherever we are gathered the Holy Spirit is that much bigger.
When we believers are gathered together do you imagine how we can change the world?
Do you want to keep that in a building?
Do you want to keep that behind rules?
Do you want to keep that out of the world?
Revelations, that big old confusing ball of prophecy, says
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
I always took that passage differently but in light of the Corinthians passage I see it as when all people on earth receive the Holy Spirit the world is God’s dwelling place because WE are all God’s dwelling place. The kingdom of God will be on earth because WE are on earth. We have his spirit. WE are all together in worship and in praise everywhere and the New Jerusalem is wherever we are because God is wherever we are. There are no boundaries because we won’t have buildings and codes and regulations between us and between us and God.
That is what will be-
So why do we hide behind the four walls of the church. Why does our church have walls at all. We are supposed to be in the world and changing it through love. On a Sunday morning we shouldn’t be dressed in our finest- listening. On a Sunday morning we should be anywhere- doing, being, loving.
The challenge in the Corinthians passage is that since we have the Holy Spirit within us we are called to be in the world and bringing light and love and hope wherever we are.
The point of Pentecost isn’t a church building. The point of Pentecost is making the world and wherever we are the church. Without rules. Without boundaries. Without playing who-is-in and who-is-out.
We get Pentecost wrong when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit in a church building. The call for this day is to go out into the world and be the church of our church ancestors.
Because they were never in a building. They were out in the world empowered and strengthened by the universal Kingdom of God in their hearts.
Our future isn’t a world where everyone goes to church; our future is a people, joined together by the Holy Spirit, sowing love wherever they go into the world.
Today- Take that temple into the world because it is in you.
It is what we believe.
It is how we love.
It is why we live.