They had been told the Spirit would be given to them. They had been told they would receive power when it did, power to be Christ’s witnesses at home and beyond.
So they gathered together, waiting.
And then it happened.
On the feast of Pentecost, it happened.
That which had been promised was fulfilled.
The wind blew and filled the building.
What looked like tongues of fire came to rest on the heads of those gathered there, and they were all filled with the Spirit.
Since that moment, Christians have continued to gather and wait, hungry for the work of God’s Spirit to take place within and around them.
On Pentecost Sunday in particular, we re-tell the above story and we celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
Tomorrow morning we gather again at Memorial United Methodist Church (on campus and online) on Pentecost Sunday. We will wear our red colors, we will hear the Scripture read, a word preached, and we will pray with longing and hunger to see and experience the Spirit moving among us.
This will be the first Sunday with our new COVID protocols in place, the first Sunday (since we started meeting in-person again) without an RSVP requirement for services. It’s also the first Sunday with a relaxation in terms of mask wearing for those individuals who have been vaccinated.
I’m both excited and a little bit fearful, too. My brain and habits have been programmed in new ways during the last year and these changes feel like they are big.
Maybe that’s what Christ’s friends felt as they waited in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come – excitement at what the coming of the Spirit might mean for them, and fear about moving into a new and unfamiliar territory. Maybe you are feeling some of that too?
Whatever we are feeling about our emerging from COVID, whether we are gathering online or in-person for church tomorrow, my prayer is the following: this Pentecost may we all know afresh the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as she leads us in mission and ministry and as she guides our steps into the new normals of the days ahead.