Will the wonders never cease? It probably depends on who’s looking and how much they are willing to “see”. The fearful disciples are gathered together. Their senses are overwhelmed—a roaring wind assaults their ears; tongues of fire light on their shoulders; they can speak AND hear in non-native languages. Is this beyond belief, or what? It’s only believable when you understand it’s the gift promised to bring comfort, to be support in the days ahead. And clearly, these “fearful” disciples believed as they went forth, spreading the good news of the gospel, and bring Christianity to a tired world. Now, look around you. In these COVID-19 days, with social distancing, and semi-confinement, where are your senses assaulted by the Holy Spirit? What do you hear that surprises you? What do you see that gives you hope? What are you saying that brings comfort and support not only to others but to yourself? The Holy Spirit has not gone away.
When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. . . . “
From sermon4kids.com: “. . . the Holy Spirit [needs] to fill us so we can be all that God wants us to be.”
Collect: 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.
Reflection: What prophetic word for the community has God given to you? In what ways do you struggle with conflicts between your way of life and the prophetic word God would have you proclaim to others? How are the acts of God manifest in your life and witness?
Saint Focus: In 1886, King Mwanga of Uganda wanted to quell the development of Christianity. He brought 32 Christian men who were members of the court and threatened them with burning if they did not renounce their Christianity. They did not and were burned to death, as were many others in the following months. However, King Mwanga failed. Many Ugandans were impressed by the great faith these martyrs showed and sought out Christianity . Be sure to follow the link below for a greater description. [most from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]
This week, the saints under consideration were :
- 30; Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc), Mystic and Soldier, 1431
- 31; The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
1; Justin, Martyr at Rome, c. 167
- 2; Martyrs of Lyon, 177
- 3; The Martyrs of Uganda, 1886
Eye Candy: “Heaven come down” by Jewell McChesney; “Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles“, Christian icon in Greek Orthodox tradition; “Pentecost“, 1732, by Jean Restout II; “Pentecost“, from Busted Halo website, includes reflection [interesting inclusion of women]
Brain Food: “In the spirit of the spirit” by Andrew Prior; commentary from Miriam’s Tambourine website [includes many art images]; “Come, Holy Ghost” translated from Latin by John Cosin, a paraphrase of Veni Creator Spiritus:
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, / and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art, / who dost thy seven-fold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above / is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light / the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face / with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home: / where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son, / and thee, of both, to be but One,
that through the ages all along, / this may be our endless song:
praise to thy eternal merit, / Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Contemporary Parables: “Chocolat” (2000), wind blows the church doors open; “Angels in the outfield” (1994), in which angels (Holy Spirit) assist; “The Music Man” (1962, 2003 DVD), “hearing in tongues”
The Day of Pentecost in our congregations is often marked by youth celebrating the Affirmation of their Baptism. What does this really mean in one’s life—to affirm a faith and to live into promises made for you before you were able to make them? How can one grasp the significance of being knit into this community, this body, that is both broken and beautiful, in bondage and radically freed? How have we taken this strange and wildly non-conforming notion and tamed it into something less appealing than tepid bathwater? Share.
Excerpted from SOLI website.
If you wish, share your thoughts on our website.
Each of us has heard the Acts story of Pentecost many times. . . . We know that a major influence of Acts 2 is a Pentecostal faith-language highlighted by, “As they were all together in one place, divided by nationality and race, suddenly they were all able to understand numerous other languages.” God’s spirit made Pentecost happen. . . .
The day of Pentecost reminds us how we were before God brought us together. Certainly the disciples “were all together in one place.” But they were like “sheep which have no shepherd” (Num. 27:17; 2 Chr. 18:16; Mt. 9:36, and Mk. 6:34). Beyond this, the twelve and other random followers were mostly afraid, confused, and paralyzed by not knowing what to do next.
Suddenly this haphazard group of believers, teetering on the edges of unbelief or at least having little confidence in what God’s future held for them, experienced something extraordinary. They understood one another. No other force could unite a group this diverse as the Holy Spirit did that day of Pentecost.
The same is true I suppose today too. Only God’s spirit can unite people like us. Like a mother who seems to be the only one in the house who can get all the children pulling in the same direction, so too does the spirit do this for us. Even the lofty theologian Paul valued the mother-son relationship, writing: “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; and greet his mother—a mother to me also” (Rom. 16:13). St. Cyprian said as well as any when he stated: “He can no longer have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother” (De unitate ecclesiae, vi.). Thank God for the Holy Spirit that takes a group of haphazard individuals and crafts, shapes, forms us into the Body of Christ—the household of faith.
The task of learning the whole language of faith, both in its joy and in its sorrow, is difficult. There should be no argument about this difficulty! The day of Pentecost, however, reminds us that it is God who sends the spirit upon the people. Speaking faith language is not dependent upon our own strength or wisdom, but rather our faith-language God offers as a precious gift—given, received, and used by people in the community of faith—for the whole people of God.
Excerpted from Speaking Spirit-Language by David Mosser from Patheos website.