Today is not my birthday it is the birthday of the church. We frequently forget that things we have been around for a long time had a beginning. I seem to have a memory of being quite surprised to find out that my parents were born at some point. It is easy for us to forget that Canada, or whichever country we are most familiar with had a beginning; there was a time when it didn’t exist yet. And so it was with the church.
The church as we know it came into being when the Holy Spirit descended on the believers who had gotten together after Jesus had ascended. As Luke relates in Acts ” All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit . . .” (Acts 2:4 NRSV). As I point out in both sermons, this is not the time that the “formal” church began with bishops and all of that, nor is it when the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches began, nor when Protestantism began, and on and on. This is not when people figured out how to get together and worship in a group. Rather, this is when the Holy Spirit came in a new way empowering all in way not seen before. The church began when everyone became part of the deal, let’s not forget that “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit” not just the paid ones or the especially holy ones or the best (or worst) ones . . . all of them.
Knox Presbyterian This is when it all began (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)
St. Mark’s Presbyterian This is when it all began (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)
PS If anyone needs evidence that these sermons are not edited beyond cutting out the silence at the beginning and the crashing around at the end when I’m trying to hit the stop button all you have to do is listen to the St. Mark’s sermon. Anyone who knows me can tell you how embarrassing it is for me to forget something as critical to church history as when the Great Schism was. Conflating it with the Battle of Hastings made it just that much worse. For the record the Great Schism was 1054. No one tell my church history professor(s).