Pumpkinfest. . . pentecost
Okay, other than both starting with the same letter it may seem like a stretch to connect these two. They are, however, both festivals--an annual event that takes place in the same town year after year. Each has a gathering place that starts with a T. Agreed the Temple was more of a spiritual place, while the Tent (we’ve learned this is short for the beer tent) is for another purpose. As festivals, however, you can compare the two a bit: Pumpkinfest and Pentecost.
What is interesting about Pentecost is that Paul didn’t adhere to the Jewish law anymore, yet he wanted to get to Jerusalem for it (Acts 20:16). Why would he want to be back for an event that God had revealed to him was no longer necessary in following Him? Why? Because he knew that is where the people were. There would be individuals who would have gathered from all over the region. What a great opportunity to talk to some of them, to encourage them to know more about God! Yeah, Paul wasn’t headed back to Jerusalem for the festival. . .but for the people.
Isn’t that what we are to do, go to the people? We are told exactly that by Jesus shortly before He is taken up into heaven. In what we call the “Great Commission,” Jesus tells His followers to “Go” (Matthew 28:19). The meaning being “to continue or pursue the journey on which one has entered.” Similarly when the church was scattered from Jerusalem (Acts 8:1) they preached the word where ever they went. Where was it they went? Back to where they lived. Back to where the people were.
We often focus on ourselves when it comes to the kingdom, and that is an okay place to start. I am a sinner, Jesus died for me, now I am a saint headed to heaven. These are good things to realize. However, we then bog down and start looking at what we want. After a while what is comfortable becomes our focus and we don’t really want to do anything differently from what we’ve become used to. At this point, we have failed to mature and don’t truly grasp what the forgiveness of our sins is all about. Both Paul (1Corinthians 3:2) and the writer of Hebrews (Hebrews 5:12-14) address this lack of maturity in the believers.
Moving on to maturity is moving on to others. Is what we do, individually or collectively as the body of Christ, conducive for others to know of God’s love? Are we mindful of others, thinking of what can we do to help them know of the outpouring of love that came from that cross? When we come together, are we mindful of who has come in the building, have I talked to them, asked them to sit by me? And as we go--scattered to the people God has put in our lives--we need to be mindful of that love, that mission.
No, I am not suggesting you find a bail of straw at the Pumpkinfest to stand up on and start preaching. I’m not even suggesting you print off a bunch of flyers to hand out or post on light poles around the main four corners. I am suggesting we put self aside and see how we can make this congregation the best place for us to invite those who God has put in our lives to reach out to. I am suggesting we then take the step to go and invite those individuals to come to an event we have here. So as you’re walking around Pumpkinfest, or avoiding it all together, think about what you are going to do. . . as you go!