Prayer before reading:
Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear you,
To receive your Spirit,
To be led by your Spirit.
Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.
Day of Pentecost
Seven weeks have passed since the Day of Passover – the evening when Jesus gathered his disciples around him in an upper room in Jerusalem and transformed this Passover meal from a celebration remembering how Jahweh freed the Israelites from slavery, into a meal of offering the New Covenant, signed and sealed by Jesus giving his life to free all of creation to the captivity of sin and death this side of Eden.
Ten days have passed since Jesus ascended to heaven, just after gathering all of his followers around him, and telling them, “. . . you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8-9)
As the lectionary guide leads us into the biblical narrative, we join these followers have been waiting – in “the room upstairs” where they are staying, “devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:12-14)
We arrive and climb the stairs into this room in the morning of the day of Pentecost, a feast day when Jahweh calls all people – “you, your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, the Levites resident in your towns, the strangers (Gentiles), the orphans, and the widows who are among you” (Deuteronomy 16:9-11) – to celebrate the harvest of God’s provision. All are to be included. And as they gather, there is to be enough for everyone – including the most vulnerable among them. As they celebrate together they are to remember that they once were vulnerable and poor, when they were slaves in Egypt. They are never to forget what it was like to live in captivity and powerlessness.
It is on this day, as the followers of Jesus once again gather in this upstairs room, that “suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” A tongue of fire rested on each of them, all of them are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin go speak in other languages, as the Spirit gives them ability.: (Acts 2:1-4)
The harvest bounty of the Holy Spirit is now filling all of Jesus’ followers. The heavenly Pentecost has now come. It is Peter who explains to those who question what is happening, that this event is not some babble of human making, but a fulfillment of God’s message through the prophet Joel:
I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my spirit. . . (from Acts 2. See also Joel 2:28-29)
It is to this feast of plenty that we come. Here as followers of Jesus we gather, are welcomed, and are fed and filled by the Spirit of God, not just for our own good, but for the good of the Church and the world.
Across the Church we have had difficulty being hospitable to this ever-present and in-dwelling member of the Trinity. But Jesus invites us to listen to how he speaks of the Spirit (see John 14,15,16), and Paul also calls us to pay attention to the presence and generous activity of the Spirit within and among us, the One who comes to help, guide, give counsel, companion, and who groans with us in this present chaotic and violent world, helping us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray, and interceding for us as we wait for God’s final redemption and creation of all things new. (Romans 8:18-27)
Let us welcome this gift and presence of God within and among us. Let us join in the feast of Pentecost!
Day of Pentecost
6/6 Monday: John 20:19-23
6/7 Tuesday: Acts 2:1-4
6/8 Wednesday: Psalm 104:24-34, 25b
6/9 Thursday: Acts 2:5-21
6/10 Friday: 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
6/11 Saturday: John 7:37-39; Acts 2:1-4
6/12 Sunday, Day of Pentecost: Acts 2:5-21