Summary: For the Day of Pentecost, on the Holy Spirit, prayer, and the reality that God doesn’t do what I want Him to do...
Seeing Jesus Through The Holy Spirit: The Day of Pentecost
Acts 2:1-13 May 27, 2007
Call To Worship Time: Acts 2:1-13 (NLT):
“On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.
But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!””
The Day of Pentecost:
Today is the day of Pentecost, and that simple story which I just read from Acts 2 tells of the birth of the church, the massive shift in God’s interaction with humanity, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon all those who believed. In preparing for today, I came across a brief article that says what I want to say better than I probably could. Surprisingly, it is from a catholic journal. I’d like to share it with you (slightly abbreviated)…
The Feast of Fire (from http://www.boston-catholic-journal.com/pentecost_feast_of_fire.htm)
The great Feast of Pentecost is upon us! The Holy Spirit Himself, in tongues of fire, alighting upon the hearts of the Apostles and making of a tepid faith a raging fire!
It is the inauguration of the greatest evangel ever proclaimed, one that would resound --- that still resounds --- in every corner of the Earth, in turn setting ablaze, consuming in love, all upon whom it touches, re-creating in God the hearts of men who in turn re-create in Christ unChristened nations.
It is the Feast of Fire that would, through a rush of wind --- of Divine Wind --- become a conflagration that would make of the whole Earth a holocaust of love unto the Father through the Son. It is the Feast of Fire!
... and we yawn.
"Another Holy Day ... thank God it falls on a Sunday!"
Let us be honest. Let us ask ourselves this: have we become smoldering wicks? Were we ever anything more? When was the last time that our flickering ember, buried in ash, set another soul ablaze with the love of Christ? Did it ever? Do we --- did we ever --- possess that holy contagion that spreads throughout our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, our nations, and makes of men and women, impassioned and passionate lovers of Christ and His Church?
Not likely. At least for most of us. So what do we do? Where to begin ... being authentic?
The first step, I think, is to candidly ask ourselves this: "Is it really meaningful, genuinely significant, to me?" For many of us, perhaps most of us --- at least in the West --- the answer will be no. "It is", we concede, "a liturgical Holy Day that is supposed to have meaning for me, but really has none, apart from the recognition of an historical event that occurred long ago and really has little bearing on me today. The Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles. I believe this. It is not, however, likely that He will come upon me. Not this Sunday, anyway, and very likely never."
"Moreover", we contend, "the people upon whom He comes in our day (or at least I have been told) belong to the Charismatic group that meets every week at Church, who are terribly emotional, wave their hands about, faint, make odd sounds, and behave in a way in which I would feel extremely awkward and pretentious. If this is characteristic of the Holy Spirit touching me, I’d really rather He not. My own spirituality is quite different, more restrained, subdued, more contemplative and less ... ostentatious." This is fair --- to some extent. It is clearly the case that the path God sets before me is not the path that everyone else will walk, nor the path to which all are called. God is a good deal more generous in accommodating our spiritual aptitudes than we are of others. We are grateful for that, and we ought to be. Our God, unlike us, is not procrustean, forcing us into molds into which we do not fit. We are not all "Charismatics", or, for that matter, any other generalized "form" into which the Spirit of God is poured as though in that one form (of spirituality) alone God genuinely, or more abundantly, abides ... and from which we, then, can peer with disdain upon other expressions of spirituality as less authentic, less expressive of the genuine love of God…