We can tend to overlook the power of Pentecost, and, therefore, bypass the workings of the Spirit: for, as Christians, how do we understand the creation of a new community by the Spirit, where we are to share “all things in common”? Or how do we carry out the mission of the Spirit that shares the love of God in any language with every tribe and people? Or how do we ask ourselves what the Holy Spirit is bringing about, or how God’s Spirit is forming us?
Pentecost is that day when we realize that the church is more than a voluntary organization. It is that, but it is also more than that: on Pentecost, we affirm that the church is both human and divine. All too human, yes, but also a creation of God, which calls forth our response as people and asks of us: Have you received the Holy Spirit? Are you open to what the Spirit is doing? Do you want to be part of the Spirit’s mission?
If we are to consider how we are to find our place in God’s mission, then we cannot leave out the power and presence of the Holy Spirit; we cannot somehow think the mission leaves out the Spirit with us.
In fact, that is the very point of this devotion: Pentecost is the day when the Spirit creates and shapes the church for its mission. It is the day when the Spirit comes upon the disciples and fills them with power, and moves them, and shakes and even disturbs them, into becoming a new force of transformation.
That is Pentecost – the event where the people who gathered in Jerusalem “from every nation under heaven” were able to communicate and understand each other in their own language (Acts 2:1-3). Indeed, as Luke tells us, the people who had “gathered in one place” were all “amazed and astonished” when the Holy Spirit came. They didn’t understand what it meant (Acts 2:12).
As we celebrate Pentecost, how may we understand the Spirit? How may we seek to receive what God wants to give us? How may we join in the Spirit’s work?
Pastor Andy Kinsey