When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
There were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious people who had come from every country in the world. When they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered. They were all excited, because all of them heard the believers talking in their own languages. In amazement and wonder they exclaimed, “These people who are talking like this are Galileans! How is it, then, that all of us hear them speaking in our own native languages? We are from Parthia, Media, and Elam; from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia; from Pontus and Asia, from Phrygia and Pamphylia, from Egypt and the regions of Libya near Cyrene. Some of us are from Rome, both Jews and Gentiles converted to Judaism, and some of us are from Crete and Arabia—yet all of us hear them speaking in our own languages about the great things that God has done!” Amazed and confused, they kept asking each other, “What does this mean?”
But others made fun of the believers, saying, “These people are drunk!”
Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles and in a loud voice began to speak to the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, listen to me and let me tell you what this means. These people are not drunk, as you suppose; it is only nine o’clock in the morning. Instead, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:
‘This is what I will do in the last days, God says:
I will pour out my Spirit on everyone.
Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message;
your young ones will see visions,
and your old ones will have dreams.
Yes, even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will proclaim my message.
I will perform miracles in the sky above
and wonders on the earth below.
There will be blood, fire, and thick smoke;
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will turn red as blood,
before the great and glorious Day of the Lord comes.
And then, whoever calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.’
Can you remember feeling the warmth of the Spirit lifting your soul and transforming your sense of being? The Pentecost experience is not just a once-off moment. The dawning of God’s wonder breaks into our faith journey over and over again. Amazed and confused at the same time, God speaks to us in everyday situations, as well as the extraordinary times. Like being in a crowded room of unintelligible voices, when all of a sudden, there comes a moment of clarity, amazingly crystal clear and stopping you in that instant. Let us not miss the times of clarity, where wisdom visits us; where what was confusing, suddenly makes sense. Just as our forebears of faith discovered in that Pentecost room, we find God in the face of each other and hear the Spirit speak through our neighbours..
Let us not miss the wonder of listening and learning from each other, even those whom we, at first, do not understand or who seem of such vastly different culture. In God, there is no east or west, no male nor female, no specified Church, nor club. As Churches Together, let us proclaim the hope we have in God. Let us listen to the dreams of our elders, and delight in the visions of hope that inspire the young to lead us all forward.
and in that moment of silent amazement,
let our hearts be strangely warmed.
Thunderous Spirit of such gentleness,
Pour out your fiery wisdom
that lifts all barriers we build between us,
and brings us to the liminal space of ‘God with us’.
In our Churches, break through barricades of structures and rulings
that prevent us from experiencing the grace of friendship as the family of Jesus.
In the confusion of your unveiling of our eyes
to the whole people of God,
grant that moment of stillness, where we can breathe in your strength
and be awestruck with energy that electrifies our being and living.
Loose our cords of righteous indignation,
And language and practice that bind us in a coil of distrust and self-satisfaction.
For we long to turn to the Light where the sun will be no longer darkened,
so that we see the face of you, O God, in each other.
Warm our hearts and melt away our fears
that prevent us listening to the tentative fledging voices
offering visions of the future.
Energize us to connect with each other as church, your Church,
loving the dreams of those who have gone before,
proclaiming new messages you inscribe in our souls,
and living a life where confusion falls in the face of your clarity.
A life worthy of awe. A life of faithful people, together.
© Rev Anne Hewitt 19/05/2021
this reflection & prayer may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.