We could really use a Pentecost right now.
The word just means fifty days after (because it’s fifty days after Easter), but the story behind it is all about the Spirit. It’s that great story of the disciples being in Jerusalem, after Jesus is gone – in person, anyway – and there’s a great wind and tongues of flame and they are suddenly able to speak in other languages “as the Spirit gave them ability.” The people around them, many from other countries, could understand them in the language of their home. It’s a brilliant way to make the point that the story of Jesus, the teaching and experience of being with Jesus, even the need to be Jesus, is for all and can be shared with all and the disciples find a way to do that.
Thing is, I think we hear “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” and “as the Spirit gave them ability” as meaning something was done to them, an outside force acted on them, something was given to them that they didn’t have. So we’re just waiting for the Holy Spirit to do it to us. And right now would be good. Like I said, we could really use a Pentecost right now. Anytime, even. Waiting … still waiting.
The thing is, I don’t think that’s what happened. I don’t think it was an outside force at all. I think that they suddenly found something that was already in them – that power of God that’s in all of us – and it came out in a great rush of inspiration, creativity and connection. That’s the Holy Spirit at work. After all that time with Jesus, all that learning, all those experiences, the many, many times Jesus showed them how to love and care and connect with people and reminded them that it’s in them to love and care and connect, too, I think they finally got it. They took a breath.
And they breathed out and took another breath and realized the breath of God is in all of us. Just as importantly, it needs to get out there, too: we exhale. The breath of God in us, the Spirit in us, needs to go into the world. They found the life that’s in our breath and shared it with the world.
We could really use a Pentecost right now. So breathe. And with each breath wonder at the life that’s in you and imagine how that life could be shared with the world in loving, caring, grace-filled ways. Breathe in. Breathe out.
This isn’t an ideal place to share a song, I guess, but a few years ago I came up with a short little song for children about this. It had dance moves like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, all the time pointing with your “Spirit Finger” – no, not that one, it was your pinky – and ending up at your heart. It went “Spirit in, Spirit out, Spirit all about, the Spirit of God is here.”
And it is. We could really use a Pentecost. So just breathe.