The gifts of the Holy Spirit are here for all of us. Especially now.
Posted in , May 21, 2020
Pentecost has always seemed like an occasion for bringing people together. The singing at church, feeling the Holy Spirit wash over you, honoring that biblical moment when hundreds heard the Word. How would it feel this year, staying at home, watching a service on Zoom?
Was it possible to celebrate Pentecost in the midst of this pandemic and to know some of that early joy? I went back to the Bible to look for some clues.
1) Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. (Acts 1:4)
Okay, it’s not exactly shelter-in-place, but Jesus was telling His disciples to stay where they were. He would send the Spirit to them. A good reminder that God meets us where we are.
2) But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26)
That promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, it was there even before Pentecost. Jesus had been preparing His disciples all along, as He’s still preparing us.
3) When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. (Acts 2:6)
Yes, there was that mighty rush of wind and the tongues of fire that seemed to alight on the disciples. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in other tongues.
But more astounding, the disciples, mere “Galileans,” were heard and understood by all those foreigners gathered in Jerusalem. To really hear and understand. Isn’t that a prayer to make on Pentecost, no matter where you are, no matter how small the crowd?
4) And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. (Joel 2:28)
This promise of the Spirit goes far back to long before Jesus came to earth. The gifts are there for all of us alike.
5) Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your field. (Exodus 23:16)
Similarly, the festival that brought all those pilgrims to Jerusalem in the first place was something that went back to Moses. Think of all that the Jewish people suffered in the intervening years. And were expected to celebrate.
6) But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost. (1 Corinthians 16:8)
The Apostle Paul wrote these words at the end of his first letter to the early Christians in Corinth. Even in his travels—and travails—he marked the day. In these current times, with the disruption of our usual schedules (not to mention our travels) it’s easy to lose track of time. All the more reason to mark the day.
So Happy Pentecost! The gifts of the Holy Spirit are there for all of us. Even now. Especially now. I won’t be singing in church with the choir, as usual, but you can be sure I’ll be humming a few happy tunes. Whatever the Spirit calls.