A Word on Pentecost
By Pastor Ashley
There’s a favorite poem of mine that starts like this:
So much of faith is waiting.
Like a pregnant woman waiting in hope…
holding out till relief comes like the soul lost in darkness,
Unable to see even a glimmer of light.
Yet stumbling through the night
Because somewhere, out ahead, day will surely break.
The poem is called “Waiting.”
And it fits with what those first followers of Jesus must have felt. Acutely.
Because they saw Jesus die. And rise. And then ascend to his father.
And then they waited.
Jesus actually told them to wait.
He told them to wait for a gift. A gift his father was going to send.
I think that some of them were scared. And probably a little nervous.
Some of them prayed. Some of them remembered how, from the beginning God had been faithful.
And then this most amazing thing happened. They were huddled in a room, a single, stuffy upstairs room. Maybe it was hot. Like on a summer evening.
And God showed up. The Spirit descended.
And they couldn’t tell you exactly what happened. Because it was new. Because the Spirit works in these wordless ways. But it was powerful.
They said a wind filled the room. It stirred up their hearts and minds and they felt alive and all together. And then it was as if a little flame—the one that dances in all our hearts all the time—grew so much so that instead of burning on the inside, it burned on the outside and for all to see…Through the gloom and the darkness and the hardness of life, a little more light crept into the world…in the faces of each of those disciples. Because God was doing a new thing in their hearts.
Because the Spirit came down, a gift to set them all ablaze with love and life. With new meaning and purpose.
It was as if heaven was here, on Earth.
And the waiting was over…and the work was just beginning.
The work of building the church…
They unlocked the door to that stuffy upper room. And they went out. Each telling God’s story in a different language. God’s story of rescuing and healing. The Great Story of hope for the least and help for the lowly. The story the kids seem to understand better than the rest of us because they’re less jaded and scarred. Because they know better than we do just how magical the world really is.
And here’s the thing: all who heard the story that day believed it. And they too got caught up in this whirlwind of the Spirit and the truth and working together they began a movement. New communities started coming together to worship and learn. To serve. To put into practice all that Jesus had taught them.
Wherever they went lives were changed, helped, made more whole than they had been. Some people were freed from the demons they carried around. Others were woken up from a deep apathy and moved toward justice. Still others were set to preaching and teaching, to dish washing and chair moving, to singing and baby holding and door holding and sign putting out-ing. Others were inspired to care, to help, to create and add beauty to the world. Each person among them had this special gift, the Spirit in them…working through them…
And it was like everything had been lifted up and set alight.
The Spirit blew into that one upper room on that one day a long time ago, but the truth is, the spirit is like a typhoon. It swept around the world…and into a multitude of other rooms. Causing the faces of all God’s people everywhere to shine
Into the darkness.
It might feel like we’re waiting now. Unable to see a glimmer of light. Stumbling in the darkness. But somewhere out ahead day will surely break.