Wow! It’s Pentecost! Are you excited? But maybe you haven’t heard too much about Pentecost, the day when we think about the mystery of the Holy Spirit. The traditional story of Pentecost is found in Act 2 in the bible. A story of tongues of fire, wind, and people understanding one another’s different languages. It is a story of the presence of God poured out from heaven: God’s spirit alive in us, alive in the world.
At that first Pentecost, they might have understood one another. But what about understanding God? What do we mean when we use the word, “God”? We are finishing off the season of Easter, that time in the church year when we have been thinking about the effect of the resurrected Jesus on his followers. Let’s face it, Easter shattered everything that we had believed about God. It began with the crucifixion, where in Jesus, God died (how is this even possible?) and then the events of resurrection which have us fumbling for new words.
Isn’t this what the resurrection does? It shocks us out of familiar patterns of thinking about God. Not only does it unsettle our minds, but also our lives. This is what Pentecost seems to be for the early followers of Jesus: a bewilderment. Something is happening in this bewilderment. People suddenly are able to communicate, to be with one another, in a new and different way. They are united by the Spirit.
As we come to see how we are to reform our understandings of God in the lwake of the resurrection, Pentecost calls us to see how we are to reform our communities, beginning with our own faith community. The habits of life, the habits of language, the ways of understanding change with the coming of the Spirit. The events of Pentecost reveal a Spirit which represents God in a new way. From this event in Acts, the church becomes of movement that transgresses the borders between insider and outsider, neighbour and foreigner, friend and stranger.
Blessings this Pentecost. Michael
Rev. Dr. Michael Caveney