Pentecost: Flame of the Spirit.


Acts 2:1-21, John 14:15-end.

Pentecost! One of my favourite days of the church’s calendar! A day that celebrates the arrival of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church. We are reminded of God’s mysterious, regenerative power. The arrival of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples came at a time when they still lived in fear. They had remained locked up in their room, too scared to go out. And when the Spirit descended on them, the bible describes that tongues of flame appeared upon their heads.

Fire is amazing isn’t? Captivating. And I wonder how the disciples felt when they saw each other with this holy fire on their heads? They didn’t seem to panic but instead they went out rejoicing, in excitement! Suddenly they felt free of fear, free of guilt and shame, free to go out into the world to speak of God’s love to everybody. And when they spoke, everybody, no matter what country they came from, could understand them! The divine Spirit burst down upon the believers with the force of storm winds and “with fire” giving them abilities they could never get on their own.

This same fire, this Holy Spirit, is still open to us today. But of course, you can’t see the flame of the Holy spirit inside people. I have brought my own fire today:

rosefire

But… (*rose extinguishes flame….) what you can see is the beauty of God working through us. The beautiful, mysterious power given to us by God, transforms us and the world around us, bringing new hope to those whose lives are struggling, and full of suffering. The Holy Spirit breathes new life, new energies, new reasons for living.

However, the Spirit’s power does not force its way into our lives. The Spirit does not intimidate or is coercive in its ways. The choice remains ours to whether we invite the Spirit or ignore God. To fight for love and against evil or be swallowed up by despair.

But the Spirit has the power to descend on us all. Who we are as the church depends upon the Spirit of God working through us. Our cohesion is based upon the presence of the spirit who cannot be controlled by individuals or factions, but upon the Spirit’s unifying act through baptism of believers to one another, to Christ and to God the Father. The breath of God, that brought life now gives all things breath and sustenance, in a new and permanent way. The comforter, the advocate, the mothering Holy Spirit heals brokenness and opens new capacity for intimacy by empowering us to aid God in restoring wholeness to the created order. We are orientated to Jesus as the center and to the world he loves.

Today, as we celebrate Pentecost, we remember the mystery of God through the power of the Holy Spirit that brings wholeness and a deep sense of being loved for who we truly are. As we open our hearts time and again to the love of God, we receive his beneficial fire of the Holy spirit, his wondrous gifts and a deep sense of belonging to a group who know God as Father. With such belonging we can truly face the future with hope, grace and love.

 

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