Perplexing, Pentecostal God,
you infuse us with your Spirit,
urging us to vision and dream.
May the gift of your presence
find voice in our lives,
that our babbling may be transformed into discernment
and the flickering of many tongues
light an unquenchable fire of compassion and justice. Amen.
Somehow these annual festivals, when we have the same story to work with year after year, are a greater challenge for me. This week we have what I consider the 2nd most important festival of the church year, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. And yet there is a part of me that asks "what am I going to do with this story this year?".
You can read the Pentecost readings (with all the options) here. And there is a lot to choose from. Of course we have the story at the core of the festival, complete with multiple languages, wind and fire, and accusations of public drunkenness (because what is a good Scripture festival without accusations of public drunkenness???). Then we have the Spirit-filled elders in the desert in Numbers. Or maybe you are drawn to Paul's discussion of Spiritual gifts? Or maybe you prefer John's description of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?
How would (or does) your community respond to a group of Spirit-filled individuals roaming freely, speaking what God has put into their hearts? Here in Alberta we just had a community that lost hundreds of homes and businesses to the combination of fire and wind, is the fire and wind of God equally dangerous? John has a much tamer/calmer vision of the Spirit's outpouring, what can we do with that? OR does it tie in too closely with our desire to tame the Spirit?
How will you welcome the Day of Pentecost this year? Some call it the birthday of the church--will you have cake? Let us know in the comments. And of course if you are ignoring the festival and going your own way tell us about that too! Maybe you can inspire one of us to join you.
Flames Photo found here
Jesus Mafa Picture found here
Cartoon found here
PS> Thanks to the community (or at least the Matriarchs thereof) for inviting me to share in its life and work in this way. It might even help keep me honest in my attempts to be more prepared farther in advance of Sunday!