This past Christmas my wife gave me the seven volume set of the "Complete Sermons of Martin Luther". Every once in a while I will check these out and see how Luther preached a particular text or a particular church holiday/season. This Sunday (May 11) is Pentecost Sunday so I decided so check out what Luther said about this day. The follow is an excerpt from his Pentecost sermon in 1534:
"We desperately need this Pentecost sermon of the Holy Spirit, so that he may give us a courageous heart, so that we, too, may persevere, regardless of who is offended, regardless of how much people may slander us. And even if cults and sects arise, we will also ignore that. That’s the kind of courage we need, a courage that remains undisturbed by any of these things and simply continues fearlessly to confess and publicly proclaim Christ, who was so grossly misjudged, condemned and killed." (The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther, vol. VI, pg. 163)
Up to this point Luther talks about these scared, timid, uncertain, disciples who, upon the Holy Spirit filling them, started proclaiming to the people (and the powers that be) that the one they condemned and crucified has been raised and is Lord of all. This One is none other than Jesus Christ. This proclamation was a bold one and took an incredible amount of courage. This courage came from the Holy Spirit that allowed them to see that nothing of this world can take away the gift that we have from God through Jesus Christ. And once they realized this; that nothing of this world could harm them, the disciples boldly proclaimed the Good News.
We too need this courage (as Luther states) and that is why this Pentecost message (the one proclaimed by the disciples on that first Pentecost Day) is so important. We need to hear a message that gives us strength because this world needs courageous Christians. This world needs people willing to share their faith no matter what others think. This world needs people willing to stand up and speak against injustices. This world needs people to take their faith into the "Monday through Saturday" world. This world needs people who are firm in their faith knowing there is hope beyond all the crap going on around us. This world needs courageous Christians; the world is desperate for them.
We need to constantly and continually preach this Good News. We need to affirm in people the promise of God through Jesus Christ. We need to proclaim this hope we all have. We need to be strong, forward, unashamed and bold. We need to know and/or be reminded that because Jesus died and rose from the grave; conquering death; and giving us victory, we need not be afraid.
So boldly go and preach the Good News through word and deed. Speak out against injustices. Take your faith into the "Monday through Saturday" world. Make that unpopular decision to say "no" to Sunday sports and say "yes" to worship. Dare to give more than you "think" you can afford. Be courageous. Be courageous because there is nothing in this world that can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Dare to say…"JESUS IS LORD!" Amen.