We celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This great feast is an invitation for us to meditate on the Holy Spirit and on how we should let the Spirit to dwell in us and to renew us. We should reflect on how we can perpetuate Pentecost. We should think of ways of making Pentecost happen again and again.
I read a true story about a woman who was waiting in a check-out line, when she was passed an envelope from the person in front of her. Someone had written on the envelope, “There’s $50.00 in this envelope for your groceries. Take it if you need it, if not, pass it on.” The woman passed it on to the person behind her. She then watched it go through the line – then on to the next line and the next and so on. What struck her most, was not that people passed the envelope on – but that several people actually added money to it!
I consider that story as a “modern-day Pentecost” – or Pentecost happening again. I see it as: The Holy Spirit moving through those lines of shoppers in an envelope! Any time, any place, in which goodness and kindness, giving and sharing, care and concern, compassion and love compels people to do what is right and just the Holy Spirit is moving among them and Pentecost is happening again.
We celebrate this great feast of Pentecost every year, but has it made any difference to your life? I think the better question is: Have you allowed Pentecost to make a significant difference to your life?
The same Holy Spirit that descended on the first Pentecost must dwell within us – collectively as a church, a community and individually as baptized disciples of Christ Pentecost is not only a noun; it must also be an adjective: Pentecostal. It must be an attribute that characterizes each of us. We must be ‘Pentecostal’ – meaning, we must be people whose lives are a constant, on-going Pentecost. We must be people who allow the Holy Spirit to descend into our lives and work in us. We must be people who are alive in the Spirit and keep the fire of the Holy Spirit burning in us.
The poet William Blake wrote a poem about Pentecost. Part of the poem says: Unless the eye catch fire, God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire, God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire, God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire, God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire, God will not be known.
Pentecost is a time to open up to the mind-blowing, heart-warming, life-changing power of God. The power of God, the Holy Spirit, can invade the body, enlighten the mind, affect the soul, lift the spirit and make us more than we ever imagined. The power of God will make you young when you are old, and it will make you live even when you die.” When God sends forth the Spirit amazing things happen: barriers are broken, and communities are formed; enemies are reconciled, and peace is established; sick people are healed, and they made whole again; addiction is broken, and relationships become healthy; selfishness is overcome, and people are blessed.
For Pentecost to continue happening today, in us and through us, for us to be truly pentecostal people, open up to Holy Spirit! Let us get ready… God is up for something. So… discouraged, sad people, cheer up! Sour, bitter people, sweeten up! Confused, conflicted people, make up! Closed, narrow-minded people, open up! Sleeping, drowsy people, wake up! Mediocre, average people, level up! Lukewarm, indifferent people, fire up! Sitting, just-watching people, stand up! Gossipers, bashers, trolls, shut up!
Today’s feast, Pentecost, calls us out from behind the locked doors where, like the disciples, we may be hiding for fear of others. This feast also reminds us that we are, indeed, people filled with the Spirit, people with gifts that the world needs so desperately: wisdom for a world searching for meaning; knowledge for a world seeking insight; healing for a world torn apart by violence; prophecy for a world in need of direction; discernment of spirits for a world confronted by competing forces and distorted values. Let us renew our commitment to be agents of Pentecost. Let Pentecost continue to happen in us and through us.