by Christine Sine

by Rodney Marsh

Today we celebrate the Day of Pentecost – the last of the three great feasts of the Christian year – Love came to dwell among us (Christmas); We killed Love, but Love remains (Easter); Love is birthed in us (Pentecost). Today we find ourselves with Jesus’ friends hiding in fear, locked away in a secluded room. Jesus appears and offers peace, gives a task (“I send you, as I was sent”) and ‘breathes on them/us and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit”’ (John 20:22). Jesus here offers three pentecostal gifts: freedom from fear, a mission and his presence. I say ‘offers’ because these gifts came, and still come, with a command: “Receive”. God is a Giver who loves to give. That’s obvious – just look at the natural world around us. But to become the GiverGod she is, God needs Receivers. Are you a Receiver or just a Taker? A Taker grabs and holds a ‘gift’, ignores the Giver, and turns the gift into a possession. The Giver now has no relationship to the gift or the taker. God goes on giving but has not become the GiverGod he is. So, when Jesus offers his pentecostal gifts they come with a request addressed to each one of us: ‘Receive’. To receive we must be open. That is all it takes – simple openness. Our senses (hearing, seeing, tasting, touching) need openness to receive to be effective – and we need an openness of heart to live. We don’t do anything except be open to receive when we see a wren hopping, or hear a magpie warbling, or bite into a fresh apple or feel the joy of a loving hug, but we do need to be open to see, hear, taste and feel these things. So open your heart today and “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Only you yourself, can open your own heart to ‘receive the Holy Spirit’.

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