And so we come to Pentecost…
This is one of those outstanding transformative moments in the Scriptures! Then why do I sometimes feel discomforted by it. Hmmm – this is not a story for those of us who like to remain in control!
When we turn our Bibles to Acts Chapter 2, we find ourselves in a story that is both captivating and mysterious. This is not a story that comes to us from the stable of rational, careful, measured planning to strategically launch a new spiritual movement!
This is spontaneous, powerful, loud, surprising and chaotic. This feels like some kind of mass hysteria as people get swept up into some dangerous group euphoria where control is lost and anything could happen! Introverts beware!
And yet… on this day, what actually happens is a transformation of a community from holy huddle to powerful witnesses and a kind of big-bang that would scatter the good news of Jesus all over the world. In a sense the birth of the church… in a sense our birth as a faith community.
And it is a story about hope: about how an encounter with the life-giving Spirit of God can set us free from the constraints which bind us, breaking down barriers and opening new horizons.
This establishing of new community goes to the very heart of the New Testament’s vision. For the very life of God is in community; the Trinity captures the fact that community is foundational to the very nature of God.
And this radical new community with the very life of God is the community that is now extended to all humanity regardless of background, culture, race and language. A totally new community is born.
All of this, of course, is the action of God. We can’t make a new Pentecost happen, any more than the first disciples fashioned it –
But we can be open to it.
Perhaps the perpetual invitation is here for us to say “yes” to the Spirit – both as individuals and as a church – to be open to seeing ourselves beyond the narrow and ashamed constraints and limitations we have allowed others to place on us and to be open to forming new community with God and with God’s world.
Rev Kate Johnson