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…
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.
1 Corinthians 12:4-13
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service. The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all. The Spirit gives one person a message full of wisdom, while to another person the same Spirit gives a message full of knowledge. One and the same Spirit gives faith to one person, while to another person he gives the power to heal. The Spirit gives one person the power to work miracles; to another, the gift of speaking God’s message; and to yet another, the ability to tell the difference between gifts that come from the Spirit and those that do not. To one person he gives the ability to speak in strange tongues, and to another he gives the ability to explain what is said. But it is one and the same Spirit who does all this; as he wishes, he gives a different gift to each person.
Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it is made up of different parts. In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into the one body by the same Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink.
He was sitting on a rock, to the side of the path leading to the summit of the mountain. I was a little behind my friend, who was striding ahead, each pilgrim in our prayerful, peace-filled and silent ascent up this sacred walk in Korea. This was a day to set aside the many meetings and discussions of World Council of Churches, Korea, to be refreshed and restored with God. I was one of thousands who had made this ascent, as was this gentle, wise-one, leaning on his stick made from what was once a twisted branch. He called to me, smiling and beckoning me over, “Friend! Friend! Hello!” I smiled back, and at his invitation, sat on the flat rock next to him. We began a conversation, an Emmaus journey. He shared his story, how strangers from overseas had become firm friends and significant allies during the war years. He relived his trauma, tears streaming down his face, his body racked with sobs. He spoke of the support received, the food and water given, the shelter and wounds tended by strangers whom he had never met. He recalled the friendship offered when he felt only darkness of fear and hate. He respectfully shook my hand and held it, as we prayed words of thanks and joy. In these ten minutes or so of sharing, we felt the presence of God’s Spirit between us and surrounding us.
On farewelling him, we wished each other well, and he waved to my friend who was waiting up the pathway. As she and I continued to walk, she asked about what we had shared. When I explained, she stopped and looked at me, and said, “But Anne, he was speaking in Korean.”
Pentecost may seem unimaginable. Yet the Spirit draws us into partnership and friendship that transcends culture, practices, differences and language. When we listen with Jesus as we walk alongside each other, we find connection, understanding and unity that transcends expectations. The Spirit enables the reality of a Pentecost Partnership, togetherness, as God’s people, that seemingly defies our human logic. Paul clarifies this even further – that though we are many, with different expressions and ‘parts’ of the whole body of Christ, God sees us only as God’s beloved ones, in all our delightful differences, innately connected and beautifully different. A Pentecost partnership sinewed with love.
Prayer – Sinewed with God’s Love
God of grace and kindness,
Thank you for drawing us together
when we continually find distinction and difference.
Your wisdom is as a cool breeze
blowing on our heated conversations.
You clear the dust from our blinded sight,
Your Way of Being,
upholds us when we trip into deep hurts on unbalanced paths.
You offer rest in the midst conflicting approaches.
Turn us towards each other
so that we see the reality of your complex community,
and become relaxed with your multidirectional journeys,
so there are multidimensional outcomes
for your divergent and complex humanity.
May our relationships be built on partnership,
and our living expression of our faith
build up and not break down,
enliven and not stifle,
delight and not defile,
bring kindness not cruelty.
In you, we live and move and have our being.
May we encounter you Jesus,
Seeking to learn,
Listening to hear,
Living to act justly,
and loving through the Spirit who entwines us.
May we be sinewed with God’s love. Amen
© Rev Anne Hewitt 24/05/2023
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