Scripture Passage – Acts 2:22-36
Description – Communion Meditation and initial sermon for April 2013 series, “Now What Jesus?”
We are approaching the time of year when we are again reminded that life has chapters that end and chapters that begin as millions of people
from 17 and 18 year olds and up graduate from high school, college, or trade school. It is a time when these individuals field questions from us that begin long before the actual event of graduation take place:
So what are your plans after graduation?
Are you going to college? Where?
Have you found a job?
We know that this end of chapter experience is a transition in which it is expected that something else will occur – a job or a new educational experience will take place.
It is basically what I call a “Now what?” or even “What now?” experience.
From last Monday to today and beyond this day to tomorrow – we have a ‘what now?’ to answer. Easter Sunday is a very important day in the life of the Christian and the Christian faith. It is a key, if not the key, day of the faith for without the resurrection, we really do not have a faith.
But we have Easter Sunday and then we have this Sunday – the Sunday after Easter. “Now what?”
I cannot help but think that the remaining disciples and those who gathered with them after Jesus ascended back to heaven asked “now what?” before the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came in a great and visible way.
While Easter Sunday is a key Sunday in the life and celebration of our faith, there is a Sunday after Easter, and a Sunday after that and a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after that as well! “Now what? What now?”
During the four Sundays this month, we are going to walk through the following passages of the book of Acts to answer the questions, “Now what?” and “What now?”:
Today – Acts 2:22-36 What now? “Tell the story!”
Next Sunday – Acts 10:44-48 What now? “Allow the Spirit!”
April 21st – Acts 9:1-20 What now? “Change!”
April 28th – Acts 7:54-60 What now? “Stand fast!”
So there is an answer (actually several answers) to “What now?” and we are going to spend time with those answers because they point to the issue of empowerment and being empowered by the Holy Spirit to engage in a mission, God’s mission, the church’s mission of making disciples.
Let us hear Acts 2:22-36 this morning: (Go to: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%202:22-36&version=NIV
When Jesus spoke to them back in Acts 1 just before He ascended back to heaven, He told those gathered “You will receive power … go be my
witnesses.” And as we have just read, following the coming of the Holy Spirit, that is what they began to do. Here we have in our main text Peter, sometimes timid, often impulsive Peter, stepping out and boldly saying, in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, “this is the story behind the strange signs and languages you have just heard.”
The opportunity to tell the story –God’s story- becomes ‘what’s next!’ for the disciples.
The Easter story – the story of the resurrection; the Advent story – the story of Jesus’ birth – the story of Moses, Joseph, Peter, David, Ruth, Esther, and others – is the story about a God who cares about us, wants to be involved in our lives, and offers us forgiveness of all that we have said and done that is wrong. But, the story has to be told, again and again and again.
It has to be told when it is easy to tell and when it is hard to tell.
As I have said before, we do not have to spend time coming up with a mission statement. We already have one – it is in the command of Jesus to “go make disciples” and “to love God and neighbor as one self.”
So what does this mean for this week?
Let me suggest that we need to tell and keep telling not just with our words but with our actions the story of God’s forgiveness and love. Our mission is to help people come to faith in Christ and experience this saving love and grace just as we have by telling the story – God’s story – a story of redemption.
And we are reminded this morning of this story as we take communion together. We practice open communion here, you do not have to be a member, and so if you wish to join us, you are welcome to do so. But let us do so with repentant hearts and openness to God’s working in our lives as we do so today.
I end with this question, “What story and whose story are you telling through your life these days?”
Let us prepare our hearts for communion.