At the epicentre?
Updated: Jun 11
What happened at Pentecost was transformative. The apostles went from hiding away and quaking in fear, to baptising 3,000 people, sending out shock-waves across the world. Why? We all know the answer: they received the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus promised in Acts 1, they received power from the Spirit and that power enabled them to become witnesses to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the Earth.
This was a critical time of transition for the apostles. They went through these extraordinary seven weeks of waiting, not knowing who they were or what they were supposed to be doing. They had done nothing but follow Jesus for years, and now he was no longer with them. Where was their epicentre now? Then Pentecost happened.
The power of God came in the form of tongues of fire and settled on them. God moved out of his old ‘house’, the Temple, and moved into a new ‘house’, the hearts of the believers. All of this happened at the place where David and
Solomon had build a place for God to dwell: God's old epicentre.
What does this mean for us today in a time when we can't see flames of the spirit descending on us and we can't hear the gospel spoken in tongues of the spirit? Where is our epicentre now? Our focus has shifted in recent weeks. Things are not normal and our worship of God isn't what we are used to. For many people this hurts their faith, because normal worship seems like the only form of
worship. For some people it's too difficult to cope with the technology. For some others the new ways are a chance to experiment with different approaches to worship. So our focus appears to have shifted, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.
But, in reality our focus should not have shifted. The epicentre of the church was never really the building, that has just been a good place to worship. The epicentre of the church should really have been in our hearts all the time, and now it stays in our hearts. God's glory has filled our hearts with light and, whether there's a building or not, the church is centred here in our hearts. The centre of the church is us and our centre is God.
For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (2 Cor. 4:6-10)
Remember this week that the light of God has filled your heart and that you are still at the epicentre of your church. We are God's focus on the surface of the earth. If we are hard pressed, perplexed, struck down or persecuted by what we are going through, then we should remember that we carry the death of Jesus. We are here to witness and to reveal the life of Jesus.