Pentecost! The culmination of the Christian season of Easter, originally a Jewish festival, which is why the Jewish followers of Jesus were gathered together for this religious observance. Still recovering from their grief at the crucifixion, joy at the resurrection, and confusion at Jesus’ brief stay with them prior to the Ascension. Pentecost! That day when the original disciples, and every generation of disciples since, have been reminded that God still moves among us, and our calling is to follow the guidance of the Spirit.
This Pentecost, God is present in our Zoom services, our parking lot worship, our in-person gatherings with singing prohibited, and our attempts at a return to “normal” whatever that may be. Come, Holy Spirit!
This Pentecost, God is speaking through the Scripture and the YouTube videos, the slideshows and the hugs, the liturgically-appropriate facemasks, and the superhero-tutu costumes of small children. Come, Holy Spirit!
This Pentecost, God is present in whatever ways you choose to welcome the Spirit in your midst. Helium balloons? Dressing in red? Hearing Scripture in various languages? Releasing doves? A holy bonfire? Bursting out of a giant birthday cake to celebrate the life of the Church? In whatever ways your community chooses to celebrate – come, Holy Spirit!
The Revised Common Lectionary readings assigned for Pentecost of course include Acts 2. Initially the disciples were believed to be drunk, but Peter declared that they were an embodiment of a Biblical prophecy. What would this look like in today’s world? Who would the Spirit alight upon, and yet we might fail to see the divine inspiration in their words? Who in your community is carrying on the legacy of speaking in new ways, to new people, for the sake of God? This is the goal of Pentecost. It is the purpose for which the Church was created.
This Sunday’s readings also include Psalm 104, celebrating all the works of God. Where can you see evidence of God in the world around you? Are there trees or rivers or flowers or mountains near your place of worship? The Spirit speaks through fire on Pentecost, but also through the glory of creation.
Perhaps you’re focusing on Ezekiel’s dry bones or Paul’s assertion that God intervenes for us in your worship service for this week. Maybe you’re using the teachings of Jesus as recorded by John to help your community understand who the Spirit is. What line of Scripture stands out to you this week? What theme is central to your worship this week?
Thank you for sharing in this conversation. Blessings to you as you prepare to record worship or meet in person, as you pray and reach out to children, as you sing or hum or simply listen, and as you seek to reveal the movement of God in your community. Come, Holy Spirit!
Katya Ouchakof is rocking the bivocational life, serving as a hospital chaplain and a paddlesports professional in Madison, WI (USA). She encounters the movement of God’s Spirit in the flicker of candles and the smell of pine trees and the sloshing of water against the side of a canoe and the cacophony of worshippers singing together in multiple languages at once. Pentecost is Katya’s favorite religious holiday!
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