Summary: A look at the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
HOLY . . . SPIRIT!
June 8, 2014
The last book by Henri Nouwen was called Sabbatical Journeys. In it, he wrote about some friends who were trapeze artists, called the Flying Rodleighs. The head of the family, Rodleigh told Nouwen, “As a flyer, I must have complete trust in my catcher. The public might think that I am the great star of the trapeze, but the real star is Joe, my catcher. He has to be there for me with split-second precision and grab me out of the air as I come to him in the long jump.”
Nouwen asked, “How does it work?” Rodleigh continued, “The secret, is that the flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything. When I fly to Joe, I simply have to stretch out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron behind the catchbar.” It’s like this . . .
VIDEO - of trapeze artist flying through air
The worst thing the flyer can do is to try to catch the catcher. I am not supposed to catch Joe. It's Joe’s task to catch me. If I grabbed Joe’s wrists, I might break them, or he might break mine, and that would be the end for both of us. A flyer must fly, and a catcher must catch, and the flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him.”1
Would you have the courage to be a flyer? Just let go and trust that the catcher will do his job and pluck you out of thin air?
Do you ever feel that way in life? You’ve let go and now something is supposed to happen! You're out there, suspended in time, wondering if the catcher is going to make good on his promise, waiting for the strong hands to grasp you. You're totally vulnerable. We feel that way sometimes. . . don’t we? In our families, in friendships, in jobs, in schools, in our faith and even in church.
We can relate to the disciples as they gathered for their daily worship time on the day of Pentecost. Jesus died and had risen again from the dead. He appeared to them and taught them for 40 days, and ten days earlier He ascended into heaven. He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the power that the Father would send them, and that's what the disciples did for 10 days. For 10 days they were suspended in air, just like the flyer, waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting for the mysterious catcher to grab them.
They had been praying, hoping, wondering what was going to happen and when it was going to happen. They were hanging and waiting for the Catcher to come.
Let’s read about it from Luke’s account in the book of Acts. Acts is the 5th book of the New Testament. We’re going to read from Acts 2:1-13 ~
1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.
6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.
7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?
9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome,
11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
So, let’s set the scene. In Acts 1, Luke told us the 120 had gathered together in Jerusalem and went to an upper room. While there they chose a new disciple to take Judas’ place. Luke also tells us ~ 14 they were all together with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
It happened at 9 a.m, and what’s important is the fact that they were all in one place. They were coming together for prayer and worship. They were all there! There was nowhere else they would rather be. Isn’t that an important thought as we think about worship and coming together. We all could find somewhere else to be. Maybe we could be having more fun. But there they were – many of them were not sure what the next step was, but they were together.