Sometimes we can become so familiar with a word, that we forget what it originally means. When we think of ‘Pentecost’ we might think of the Holy Spirit, or the birth of the church, or those brand of churches that model themselves after the experience of the charismatic gifts, especially speaking in tongues, for example. But when the disciples met on the Pentecost that we read about in Acts 2, they were there to pray and remember the mighty deeds of God in the past and the more recent amazing works and influence of Jesus. They celebrated the great Jewish feast, which gave thanks for the new harvest of wheat, when they offered the first sheafs of wheat in thanksgiving and in anticipation of the harvest still to come. They also remembered the very first Pentecost, which was celebrated by the newly liberated people of God newly released from slavery in Egypt and now gathered around the mountain of Sinai.
They remembered how Moses had left the people and ascended the mountain of God to be in his mighty and awesome presence, and how he had returned with the tablets bearing the ten words of the Lord. Now as the disciples gathered in prayer, this amazing thing happened – this wind broke out around them and among them. This wind brought new life to them and they realised that they now had the power to actually live the teachings of Jesus and the commandments of God. This Spirit was somehow changing them, making everything real and wonderful – perhaps something like the Spirit first did when it hovered over the waters of the ‘Tohu va Bohu’ – the waters of chaos and disorder in Genesis 1:2.
The Spirit broke through and came from ‘heaven’ to bring new life to their experience of ‘earth’. It first broke into just who they were and gave them the ability to forgive past hurts, to overcome prejudice and hatreds, and to be empowered to boldly proclaim the tangible presence of the risen Lord among them. God wants to do no less among us; within us; through us. Let us continue to pray for the Spirit of God to come, to fall upon us, to breath his life into us – so that he can rock our world too! Come, Holy Spirit…
Recorded at St Michael’s, 9.30am (11’05”)