Dear Family, Friends and Visitors:
Behind Heaven's Door #1
For many years “Let’s Make a Deal” has been telling us that there is fortune for us behind one of the three doors they offer. The truth is there was fortune behind all three, but only one door hid the greatest of all the prizes. Any of us would have been happy with any of the three door prizes that were hidden. I, unfortunately, never got to be on the show, so I guess I will never get any prizes or fortune in my life. I deserve better for my sacrifices. What a rabbit hole this thinking is for many people.
Pentecost is the season that brings us, as followers of Christ, to the penultimate door that holds all truth and stability. It is the greatest treasure given to us by God. God sends Jesus to show us the way, the truth and the life. And, Jesus then gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit lights on the heads of those gathered in the upper room a miracle is being set loose for the benefit of the whole earth and all her peoples of many races, tongues and ethnic backgrounds. It says in Acts 2, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams . . . . Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This seems to be a pretty good door prize that “Let’s Make a Deal” can never offer. We often struggle to discern just what this Holy Spirit is and what it might look like to each of us if visible. The truth is, that we have that Spirit all around us and she is visible. We, unfortunately, are not in tune with the world around us which prevents us from seeing the work the Holy Spirit is actually doing. The working of the Holy Spirit becomes real when we help those who are in need, when we offer prayers for those we do not know, when we allow ourselves to think of others first before ourselves, when we are willing to risk all for the sake of the Kingdom and when we are willing to accept the fact that it is through the divine grace of God that all exists. It is not “Let’s Make a Deal.”
Those gathered in the upper room, both men and women, had their hearts filled with fire to go out and change the dysfunctional world they were living in and experiencing. Many thought they were drunk or crazy, but the testimony to their fire is that about 3,000 were added to their numbers that very day. If that is what being drunk or crazy means for the church then I would encourage everyone to get drunk and crazy on the message of the Holy Spirit. None of us are able to save ourselves, but we should be deeply grateful that God can save us from the extremism of the world, the vetting of folks who differ from us and the violence that rocks our sensibilities every day in the news. The world appears, by all accounts, to be in a state of chaos with no hope on the immediate horizon. How narrow our faith has become if this is what we truly believe. It says in Matthew 19, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
Pentecost is the assurance that there are far greater riches for our lives than on “Let’s make a Deal.” My challenge to you for this Pentecost season is to open your hearts and minds to the working of the Holy Spirit that is poured out for all people. May you realize that God loves each of you more than you can imagine. If all of this is true then I, too, would have waited in that upper room for as long as it took to receive the promise Jesus made to me. I beg you to get out of the many doors that distract you from the love of God and for you to gather in that upper room. You will be a different human being by doing so. For me, personally, I choose the true door which is Jesus. I already have too much from the other doors and I need to downsize. The deeper question I leave with you is, “which door are you going to choose?” I pray the door of truth will be your choice.
Priest and Rector