When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force – no one could tell where it was from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them. There were many people staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. – Acts 2:1-5
This Sunday we celebrate. We celebrate the end of the Easter season (though in many ways, Easter never ends, we are people of the Resurrection). We celebrate the Holy Spirit – the mysterious element of the Trinity sent to God’s people as helper and advocate, as friend and the Spirit of Truth. And with the Holy Spirit’s arrival among the early disciples and the way she drew others into their midst, we celebrate the birth of the church. Happy Birthday, Church!
The Holy Spirit is hard to pin down. The sacred stories reveal that she likes to surprise us, she’s a presence that fills the space, she moves like wind, she moves like fire, and here, she prompts the disciples to speak in ways that were new and different for them. She’s also the animating force that compels people from all over to come running to see what was happening.
When was the last time that you found yourself inspired to run toward something – physically with your body or inwardly with your heart and mind?
The disciples were gathered together. Less than two months ago, Jesus washed their feet, broke bread with them, and called them friends. Then he died on a cross and their dreams and expectations were crushed. Three days later the impossible happened. The resurrected Christ was hard to recognize, and he met them in their fears and doubts and opened their eyes to the ways God works in the world. Then he ascended, he disappeared, and they remembered his promise that one was coming to befriend them, to guide and support them as they figured out how to live like Jesus, how to live resurrection in their daily lives – how to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Scholar Willie James Jennings writes, “This is a revolution of the Spirit always poised to unleash itself at the slightest moment of faithful waiting and yielding.” The Holy Spirit brings the fire. All she needs is faithful and willing partners. Listen for the sound of the wind, and prepare to run and see the ways the Spirit is moving in our midst.