What I’m Thinking: Pentecost

Pentecost marked the re-emergence of the Jesus movement into the public eye. It has never left it – not even during this pandemic.

Here’s a transcript:

The last Sunday in May this year is Pentecost Sunday, and so I’m thinking about the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-21), in which Luke described the gift of the Holy Spirit to the early Church.

You may remember the story. Jesus’ disciples had been gathered together for some time following his resurrection and ascension. They’d met for prayer and for companionship, but they had been set apart from the rest of the world.

But on that festival day – the festival of the giving of the Law – they returned to the public square and the public awareness, proclaiming Jesus’ deeds of power in languages that they did not understand, so that people visiting from far away would know what God had done.

They returned to public awareness, and Christianity has never left it in the millennia since.

The parallels to our day are obvious but also somewhat deceptive. We have been staying apart from one another, but we have been doing it because that is a visible expression of Christian care and compassion. It’s a visible expression of care and compassion of any faith and no faith. We have been seeking to avoid the transmission of a disease that has deadly consequences for far too many of our neighbors and our friends.

We’ve stayed apart.

We will shortly – the dates are not set – be returning to public gatherings for worship. We will do so in ways that maintain the best practices for reducing the chances of transmission of this illness, but we will not do so because we have been “hiding” through this time. Indeed the Church has been the Church throughout.

We have been sharing the message through videos like this. We have been participating in worship through live streaming services. We have been conferring with one another; we have been engaged in studies with one another; we have been praying with one another via these new technologies as well as some old ones. The good old hand-written note card has been one.

So whatever the immediate future for our community is, what I tell you is that the Holy Spirit has been with us this entire time. The Holy Spirit has been filling in those empty spaces left by the absence of activities and encounters and conversations that we would like to have. The Holy Spirit has been with us to give us the energy to get through some of the days when, honestly, we were feeling pretty low. The Holy Spirit has been with us, and the Holy Spirit will be with us to give us the wisdom we need to be together safely in the days to come.

On this Pentecost Sunday, let us give thanks for and pray for the continued presence of the Holy Spirit. Let us be joyful. Let us be wise.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: | Posted on May 26, 2020

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