Armodoxy for Today: Changing over to Apostle
There comes a time when children want to leave the nest and part of the parenting skill is finding the opportunity to encourage that move. Sometimes it requires a push, so the young one can catch the wind as they spread their wings. In preparation for their departure parents have given their children the necessary upbringing and education. Of course, the education process continues through life activities and events.
When Jesus stood at the Sea of Galilee and called his disciples to follow him, his invitation was simple: Come. After his Resurrection, at the Ascension, the command was just as simple: Go. He first invited them to come, follow and learn. At the Ascension he said it is time for them to go, teach others. It is precisely at the Ascension that the Disciples (students) become Apostles (those who are sent = missionaries).
The Apostles received the tools with which to do their missionary work on the day of Pentecost, hokegalust in Armenian, which means “Coming of the Spirit.” As we read yesterday in the Book of Acts 2, the Holy Spirit gave the gift of utterance to the Apostles.
The gift of God is communication. We are not created as robots, but entities with the ability to process thought and communicate it to others. Is it any wonder that the human being is the only member of the animal kingdom that procreates, makes love, facing each other. In the most intimate of positions, the human being has the opportunity to communicate at all levels with thoughts, speech, feel and touch. Language is the skill to communicate with others.
Armodoxy rejects the idea that at Pentecost the gift of utterance was a secret sound-code that was understood by only some. Scripture says that the people who heard the Apostles talking said, “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? … we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” The sounds that people heard were languages, not non-sensical words or sounds. The gifts of God are always practical; they have a function.
Words express our thoughts and teach, that is, they pass along knowledge. The object of those teaching-lessons is harmony among people. The idea that God would give people confusing sounds, or would want to confound people’s attempts to understand one another is foreign to Christian thought. The gift of the Holy Spirit brings us together, not draws us apart.
Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. With the Holy Spirit, the Church would now move to continue the work of Christ. The Church is community. There is no such thing as one-Christian. Christianity is about working together, so that “Thy Will be Done, on Earth as it is in Heaven” (from the Lord’s Prayer).
Christ taught his Disciples. When the time came and the Disciples were ready to continue the mission, what we may refer to as “spreading their wings,” Christ commissioned them to “Go” and share what they had learned, ensuring the continuity of his message in perpetuity.
The perfect vehicle for this is the group of people, that is community, that reach out to one another with hands, legs and voice, to find strength and work for what Jesus sought: Peace on Earth, good will toward one another.
The Church is one when it reflects this harmony in its teachings.
Today’s prayer will come from the last verses of Acts, chapter 2, the first Christian community after Pentecost:
44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (NKJV)