Day of Pentecost

On this Day of Pentecost we read from The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2
The extraordinarily rich text from Acts demands consideration of the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church as our focus for this week. In this text and in the theology of Acts, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the Church is both the sign and the instrument of the launch Church’s mission. The disciples had been instructed by Jesus to wait to be ‘baptised with the Holy Spirit’ and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be his witnesses in all the earth. Thus, they waited – until Pentecost, when the gathered disciples experienced in unmistakable ways the promised outpouring of the Spirit. In this text, the Spirit also empowered Peter to offer the first sermon of the Church era. This sermon linked that morning’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit to the promise from Joel of just such an outpouring in the ‘last days’ (Joel 2. 28–29). The text goes on to indicate the successful launch of the Church’s mission with a flourish. The Holy spirit enables the disciples to preach God’s Word even in languages they did not know. The Spirit empowers numerous awe-inspiring ‘wonders and signs’. It also gives us a strong encouragement that when we depend on the Holy Spirit and follow through in our mission to spread the Gospel, miracles happen and we join with God in his redemptive work. This narrative challenges us to find the Spirit within us and to locate, claim, and utilise our authentic voices, gifts and skills with which to love and serve. However, we cheapen the Spirit and her gifts if we reduce them to dwelling exclusively within the individual. This Spirit that swept through the house gifted more than those disciples at Pentecost and the disciples with whom we minister today. That Spirit has been loosed into the world, and its creative and life-giving power is now the gift of families and communities, of Churches, and of nations. The relevant question becomes not just ‘How will I respond to these party gifts of the Spirit?’ but ‘How will WE respond to these gifts as a community and as a Church?’

Blessings, Fr Jonathan