What I’m Thinking: Pentecost

In the early days of the Church they organized themselves around the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

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.

A lot of people gathered in Jerusalem, because the holiday they were celebrating was an important one. It commemorated the gift of the Law, the organizing principle of the people of Israel. On that day, those first Christians — Jesus’ closest friends and associates — they were also present in Jerusalem and they were also observing the holiday. But then came the organizing principle of what would be the Christian Church, and that organizing principle was: the presence, the power, the inspiration, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

They started telling the stories of Jesus and to the astonishment of those listening they understood them in their own languages, not the languages that in theory all these Galileans would be speaking.

In all of the New Testament — in the Gospels, in the book of Zcts, in the various letters of Paul and John and others — it becomes abundantly clear that in the early Church the presence of the Holy Spirit was understood to be a universal. This was part of what it meant to be in the Church that one was filled with the Holy Spirit. In these contemporary times there are certainly churches that continue to organize themselves that way. Most of us, however, probably go through each of our days without even asking ourselves: Where is the Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Spirit guiding me in this moment, in this day? Is the Holy Spirit strengthening me for what lies ahead?

Let’s go back to that sense of the early Church that the Holy Spirit was important and indeed that the Holy Spirit provided that central organizing principle of the new Church, that we would be the people who in every circumstance paid attention and listened for God, seeking God’s direction, asking for God’s strength, rejoicing in God’s presence.

Some years ago, the United Church of Christ launched a tagline: “God is still speaking.” We did that because of our firm belief that we continue to be a Spirit led Church, a Spirit infused Church, a Spirited Church.

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

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , , | Posted on May 22, 2023

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