Collect and Readings for Day of Pentecost – Acts 2.1-21, Genesis 11.1-, Psalm 104.26-end, Romans 8.14-17, John 14.8-17, 25-27.
The Prayer for today God, who as at this time taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
In the ancient story of Babel a deep human puzzle is explored. Why is it that, whenever we let our skills and gifts divert us into pride and ambition, we end up bickering and losing our capacity for mutual co-operation? It is a story which provides a useful foil to the events of Pentecost.
For here we have God's answer, and the Babel story turned on its head. God's Holy Spirit, residing in our whole being, opens up the possibility of living as God intended – in harmony with our Creator. That new relationship is bound to spill out into our relationships with one another, and work against the destructiveness we know so well and despair of overcoming.
As the force of the Spirit, coming in great power, surges like wind and fire into the place where the apostles are expectantly waiting, they are completely drenched in the waves of God's energising love. @Drenched' is perhaps an odd word to use in the context of tongues of flame, but in terms of the Hoy Spirit it makes sense, because air (breath or wind), water and fire – those raw experiences of natural power – are all linked with the physical expressions of the presence and power of God among his people.
It is God's nature to warn us ahead of time if something is coming up that he wants us seriously to attend to. The disciples have taken Jesus' prophecy to heart, and have been waiting watchfully and prayerfully for the last nine days since the Ascension. So often we miss God's voice because we are not expecting to hear it. We miss the outpouring of his Spirit in our lives because we are not expecting him to act. Yet as soon as we set ourselves faithfully and expectantly to ask for it and wait for it, God honours the honesty of our longing, and makes his presence known.
Some things to reflect on:
Do we really want God's spirit to fill us, or does the thought terrify us so that we are actually asking God to keep a safe distance?
Why do you think Jesus said that even greater things would be possible for his Spirit-filled followers than had been done during his own ministry?
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev'd Fiona Robinson