What I’m Thinking: Pentecost Clarity

The first Christian Pentecost was a celebration of clarity on a holiday that celebrated God’s clarity: a clarity of grace.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the second chapter of Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-21) because this coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost was the Greek name for the Jewish holiday Shavuot, the commemoration of the giving of the law to Moses after the people of Israel had been delivered from slavery in Egypt.

And chapter two of Acts finds Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem preparing to celebrates Shavuot, Pentecost. On this particular Pentecost, however, something startling happened. The Holy Spirit came with the sound of a mighty wind, with a vision of tongues of fire, and most noticeably (not just to themselves but to those around them) with their sudden ability to speak and have people hear them in their own languages, not the Aramaic or Hebrew or rough Greek that would have been spoken by Galileans but in a raft of tongues that were spoken around the eastern Mediterranean.

They wonder what it’s all about.

Peter stood up and proclaimed that this was the fulfillment of a prophecy of Joel that the old and the young, the men and the women, would see visions and dream dreams and share the word of God.

It’s not a coincidence that this happened on Shavuot, on Pentecost. The giving of the law was an exercise of clarity. “This is what I expect of you,” said God to the people of Israel through Moses, and in the first century Pentecost experience once more God intervened to say, “I am with you in this profound and blessed way. My grace is in law and around law and above law. My grace surrounds you all.”

It’s a burst of clarity about God in the midst of so much confusion and doubt and pain.

Friends, Pentecost never quite ends, because the Holy Spirit of God is not just the one that inspires. In the gospel of John, Jesus called the Holy Spirit “the Comforter.” The Holy Spirit is that aspect of God who is always present, who is always caring, who is always supporting, who is always comforting.

May you be blessed by the presence of the Holy Spirit this Pentecost and always.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you were 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 30, 2022

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