O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Collect for Pentecost. Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.
Readings found here.
Here we are at the end of the Great 50 Days. Jesus has died, risen, visited and ascended, and at last the long promised Holy Spirit is about to descend upon Jesus’ followers The Pentecost story we know best – and the one that fits the chronology I just laid out – is found in the reading from Acts, where we feel the rushing winds and can picture the tongues of fire and imagine what it must have been like to hear the cacophony of different language being spoken by those receiving the Spirit. For most of us, especially the mainliners among us, this sort of event is far from our reality. How might we make the Spirit come alive for our congregations? How DO we experience the Spirit?
The Acts reading might be paired with our reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Here Paul outlines the variety of gifts one might receive from the Spirit, while emphasizing that we are all nonetheless baptized into one body, the body of Christ. This diversity in unity is, I believe, something we need to embrace more than ever as we figure out how to be the church in the 21st century.
If you want to move away from the traditional stories and delve into the OT, you might choose the reading from Numbers. Here we see evidence of the Spirit moving among Moses’ elders. How might this experience of the Spirit outside a Christian context inform our own understanding of the Holy Spirit?
And then there is the gospel where we have more choices. The more obvious of course is John 20 which narrates John ‘s version of the coming of the Spirit. If you have been following John closely during Eastertide this may be one way to bring closure to that And for something entirely different, how about the excerpt from John 7? The commentary from Elisabeth Johnson over at Working Preacher provides some excellent background on this reading.
So where is the Spirit calling you for this Pentecost Sunday? Join the conversation and share your questions, ideas, and inspiration!
Come Holy Spirit!
~Edited to (hopefully) clean up all the typos! Blogging from my iPad while out of town is extremely challenging!