Peace and Joy to You!
This spring several friends have shared social media posts of trips to Israel. A regular stop for Christians in Jerusalem is a large medieval room. There a guide will say something like this: “This is not the actual room, but this is believed to be the place where Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples. It is also where the Spirit came on the church at Pentecost. This is holy ground for Christians and you should take off your shoes.”
It was on that holy ground that the Spirit fell on the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after the Resurrection. Acts 2:1-21 describes tongues of fire and a sound of a rushing wind. Those gathered began to speak in “other tongues,” the languages of all present. It was an overwhelming experience. They felt a new sense of power. A power that changed them from quiet, hesitant believers to bold witnesses. The Holy Spirit transformed them from disciples (learners) into apostles (ones sent, witnesses).
Our word of the week is “Spirit.” How do we experience the power of God’s Spirit in our lives?
On a warm June evening in 1933 poet W.H. Auden experienced what he later called a “mystical vision.” He had acquired a penchant for sleeping outside under the stars. That night, after dinner, he was sitting on the lawn with three teaching colleagues. All of a sudden, while talking casually, he felt, “…invaded by a power, and, though (he) consented to it, it was irresistible and certainly not (his)….” He felt his colleagues’ existence to be of “infinite value.” His colleagues had the same feeling. Later he would also express that he had had a vision of agape, a selfless love of his neighbor. He always attributed that momentary feeling to an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. His poem, “Out on the lawn I lie in bed,” is an attempt to capture in words that power that he felt.
As with the disciples, as with Auden, it is the Spirit that connects us, one to another. As the Spirit gathered four young teachers together into a mystical bond of agape, as the Spirit launched the disciples with their calling and the strength to witness to God, so the Spirit warms every heart and opens us to the power to know life transformed.
Wear Red Sunday and together let’s celebrate the incoming of God’s Spirit as the power for living each day in communion with one another.