Immanuel Lutheran Church
Lamplighter: The Pastor's Pen

I suspect all of you are familiar with the story we call “The Tower of Babel.” When we studied it in the adult Bible class just recently, we learned that the account is more than just about building a tower into the heavens. One of the sins at Babel is that the people are building a city instead of spreading out into the world. The Lord had commanded Adam and Eve, and later Noah, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28; see also 9:7). Instead, their rebellion becomes manifest in bricks and mortar, things that are firm, sure, and permanent. The plans of the people in the Plain of Shinar are plans to remain safe and secure instead of venturing out into the world that the Lord had created for them to fill and care for.

Now, it’s sure easy to sit and point fingers at them. But when things are easy and comfortable, we should step back. Safe and secure with bricks and mortar? That sounds an awful lot like something that should hit home for us who have known the words of our Lord. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”(Matthew 28:18). Go. Go out into the world to disciple, to baptize, and to teach. To spread out into the world, that the Kingdom of God might bear fruit and multiply. Yet, oftentimes our only going from week to week is from the safety of this brick and mortar place back to the security of our brick and mortar homes. The only disciple-making, baptizing, and teaching happens in the safety and security of Sunday School classrooms and Sunday morning services. We’ve built a sheltered city for ourselves, and we feel comfortable staying put. < /p>

But now, as the Church, we have entered into the long and important season of Pentecost. It’s a time when we reflect not only on the teaching and healing ministry of our Lord, but on how that teaching plays out in the life and growth of the Church. As we heard again at the celebration of Pentecost, the Spirit of God came rushing into the room where the disciples were, filling their hearts and allowing them to spread the good news of Jesus. It was then that they Apostles went. They went out of the house, out of the safety and security of that place, and began to speak to the people the good news of Jesus Christ in their own languages. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses (Acts 2:32). With the promise and comfort of the Holy Spirit, who had come down into the world and rested on them, they went out into the world.< /p>

For us, the message is clear. This Jesus, who was crucified because of our sins has been made Lord and Christ. Yet, we no longer come together seeking safety and security through our own efforts. The Holy Spirit comes rushing down on us too, knocking down the walls that we have built up. By the Holy Spirit, we do come together as one body in Christ Jesus, knowing that it’s through him that we receive life and salvation, the safety and security of our souls. But, it’s this power, it’s this message, it’s this Lord and Christ that can’t be contained by the bricks and mortar of this place. Just as he came into the world to save sinners, of whom we are the worst, so too does he send into the world the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who seals the presence of Christ in our midst. In this knowledge, then, we go forth, sent by the Lord in the mighty power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the mighty works of God in Christ!

Pastor Squire