A story and some teaching. You may already know all of this. Please add your knowledge to mine and your stories. Use the comment button.
Symbols of God’s Spirit
- The dove, God’s Spirit of peace,
- The windmill, the wind of God’s Spirit bringing challenge & power.
- Flames – the fire of God’s Spirit that can change the world.
- Love – God’s Spirit fills us with love for our world. Fruits of the Spirit
- Patience, kindness, enthusiasm, joy, love, and…
Pentecost in the Bible:
In first part of our Bible – the inherited stories of the Hebrew people we hear about God’s Spirit of wisdom, challenge, power coming to individual people for particular purposes.
In the smaller second part of our Bible are the stories of our Christian faith. They begin with the stories of Jesus’ life and are followed by the founding and growth of the early church and it’s people. Pentecost is the story in which the gift of God’s Spirit comes not just to one but to each and every individual in our world. It’s a story that has all the elements of a good Steven Spielberg movie.
In the Biblical story, the Spirit with the sound of the rushing wind so loud it fills the room, and with it comes fire that touches everyone present but does not hurt them. Once touched those present who had been terrified by the crucifixion of Jesus, received the courage and strength to step into the streets and tell the stories of Jesus’ love even unto death and that his love brought him life again. Those who gathered to listen were from every part of the known world, and they each heard the words in their own language. Everyone was able to hear and understand. It’s an amazing story.
In the church we celebrate Pentecost as a foundation story of the Christian church. For sure it tells us that Jesus came for all people, that God empowers all people to speak of God’s love, and live God’s peace and caring.
Here is a personal story, of the action of God’s Spirit. As you read, think about your own experiences. For sure, whether or not you speak words of faith, you too have felt the presence of God’s Spirit within you.
Did You Feel It?
At choir practice a number of years ago, my good friend, Cathy had the seat beside me. We giggled and laughed and enjoyed our friendship even as we worked hard at learning the songs. One night, at practice, we stood up and sang with great gusto the African hymn, “We are Marching in the Light of God.” I felt tears of joy fill my eyes as our enthusiastic voices rang out and filled the sanctuary. When we sat down, Cathy leaned over and said, “Wow, that made the hair on my arms stand up. What was that anyway?”
My immediate response, “God’s spirit just joined in our fun.” She looked at me and frowned, but said nothing more. After practice we went for coffee. As soon as we sat down, Cathy asked, “What did you mean by, “God’s Spirit just joined in our fun?”
I shared stories with her of other special moments when I had felt the Spirit’s presence. I told her of the tears of joy that came with the birth of my children, when I open the box to see my new book for the first time, when I stand silent overwhelmed with the beauty of a blazing sunset. Each time, God’s Spirit rises up within me, a my being responds with a physical response like tears, hairs rising up, shivers down my spine and more. The Bible tells us we cannot control God’s Spirit. She rises up when and where she chooses. We can trust that she is there with us. Our job is to recognize her.
“Thank you,” was all Cathy said. Our conversation went on to other things.
On Sunday morning two weeks later, one of our choir soloists sang, “Mary, Did You Know?” The beauty, the power, the sincerity of her singing brought total silence into the sanctuary. When she finished, Linda whispered, “Did you feel it? Did you feel God’s Spirit. Look!” She touched a tear that was slipping down her cheek. “I think God enjoyed Linda’s solo as much as the rest of us. Thank you for naming God’s spirit for me.”
God had used me, not to preach, but to share my faith stories with my friend. Together we made a crack and God seeped in. I am grateful.
Think of a time when you have felt the touch of God’s Spirit. Why might it be important for you to name her presence within you?
Loving God, you Spirit dwells within each and every one of us. Help us to recognize and celebrate those special moments when we recognize her presence. Amen.