If you follow the church year calendar, Pentecost is celebrated 50 days after Easter. It’s the day that the Church remembers and celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus’ followers with a rushing wind and tongues of fire. These regular, everyday folks who had seen Jesus and followed him are now filled with the power of God and speak in other tongues and 3000 people choose to follow Jesus, all in one day! That’s why Pentecost is celebrated as the birthday of the Church, not the church building, or a denomination, but the people, the followers of Jesus, the new Kingdom community.
This year, Pentecost falls on Sunday, June 9th. And in some churches everyone will wear red (the liturgical color of Pentecost) and wave banners and even have cupcakes to celebrate the Church’s big Birthday!
For other churches it will just be a regular Sunday morning and no mention of Acts 2 will be made.
That’s sad because when we forget Pentecost, we forget a really amazing part of our story! We miss the Gift that God had promised and Jesus told would be given! It’s the day that the Prophecy was fulfilled that the Spirit of God would be poured out on ALL people. Now, not just the prophets and the teachers or the special anointed ones could experience the Holy Spirit. Now the Holy Spirit is poured out on everyone who chooses to follow Jesus!
I often say that I would probably have missed Pentecost, missed the gift of the Holy Spirit. If I had heard Jesus say go into all the world and make disciples and he sent me out, I would have missed the second part, the “stay in Jerusalem and wait” part. I don’t like waiting. I am a really bad wait-er. I want to go do the good stuff of the kingdom! But that’s not what Jesus had in mind. These followers were not supposed to go do this great stuff on their own. They were not supposed to just jump in and try it all just because they could. Jesus went back to the Father so that the Holy Spirit could come and live in us! And live through us and be the comforter and the helper and the teacher and the reminder of all Jesus said and did!
Why is it that we so often don’t’ hear the WAIT part? Why is it that we make our own plans and we run ahead hoping that God will bless our actions after the fact? Are we, am I, just that arrogant and self important? Yep. Too often I am. I need help and I need a BIG reminder that often God says to wait.
Go back to Jerusalem WAIT for the gift. God often says be still, or even just BE.
How are you doing with waiting on God?
Are you willing to stay if God says stay?
How are you doing with being still?
The beautiful thing about Pentecost is that it isn’t just one day. In the church calendar, we get a season of Pentecost! We get time to live out and live into the experience and the receiving of the Holy Spirit.
What aspect of the Holy Spirit are you interested in learning more about during this new season? The Power Gift Giving Holy Spirit? The Comforter who comes along side us? The Teacher, who reminds us of all Jesus did and said? Talk to God about this and ask the Holy Spirit to show you!
Spend some time in the Book of Acts during the coming weeks. What do you notice? What surprises you? What is the Holy Spirit inviting you to do more of,or less of in response?
Create a ritual or a reminder to receive more of the Holy Spirit in your life. This is a photo of a red ceramic bowl at the Cincinnati art museum. It reminds me to be open to what the Holy Spirit has for me, and like Oliver in “Oliver Twist,’ to ask for more power, peace, and love in my bowl! You can pick a red bowl, or a red cup to remind you to be filled with the Spirit, or you might light a candle each morning as a reminder to be filled with the Spirit, or even put out a container of fireplace matches as a symbol of your desire to be fired up with God’s Spirit.
Be Honest with God …like the Disciples, you may still have doubts about what’s next, or doubts, fears or baggage around the Holy Spirit. Spend some time talking to Jesus about where you are. Take time to journal about what you know or what you don’t know about the Holy Spirit and write about your fears or frustrations. Give these to Jesus and allow Him to carry these for you.
With your family, friends, small group, or on your own, get out a world map and pray each day for a new place to be filled with God’s Spirit. You can place a tea light on the country, or a battery tea light candle, or a book of matches as a symbol of your prayers for that place. You could also use a map of your city or state as a prayer tool and pray for the Holy Spirit to fill each neighborhood with God’s power, love and healing. You could color the flames of the Holy Spirit on your map!
So let’s use the next few weeks to actually experience Pentecost. When you see the wind blowing outside your window, or feel the cool breeze on your face, or even when you see a ceiling fan, let these be reminders that the Holy Spirit is here!
Pay attention. Don’t be afraid to make space for Pentecost! Don’t be afraid to wait on the Gift of the Holy Spirit!
What is the Holy Spirit reminding you of today? Take the time to be still and listen. Feel the wind of the Spirit and be refreshed and renewed to go and love as Jesus did.
©lillylewin and freerangeworship.com