Pentecost - disciples released after lockdown?

Imagine being locked up in one room for 7 weeks. Had I written that last year we would have had to really think about what that might be like but at this time, we know what it is like. We have been locked up in our homes, afraid to go out for 9 weeks and without technology, where would we be?

The first disciples, afraid, stayed in the upper room; they were afraid for their lives; to go out, they could be exposed to the discovery that they were followers of Jesus. We can in part understand this sense of fear.

Scene of the Ascension - cartoon style

At the ascension, Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem. What were they waiting for? Unlike them, we know we are waiting for a vaccine; they did not know what they were waiting for. But 10 days later they found out. Today, as you read this, we, like them, celebrate one of the three most important events in the church calendar – Pentecost.

I am always amazed that this is the forgotten celebration; for us, it is as important as Christmas and Easter. At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of the Son who left His father to live among us. At Easter, we remember the sacrifice the Son made for us and then celebrate the power of God in raising Him from death to life. Christmas and Easter remind us of two aspects of the Trinity. Pentecost is the celebration of the third aspect – the Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit as tongues of fire - cartoon style

Suddenly the upper room was awake and alive, wind and fire purged the disciples, filling them completely with the power of God.

See how they changed; no longer afraid and hiding away, they rushed from the room and told everyone about Jesus, His life, His death and His resurrection.

The book of Acts is just that; the book of everything (acts) the disciples did because they were filled with the Holy Spirit. It tells the story of the early church and its expansion.

Imagine again if the disciples had stayed in the upper room; imagine if the Holy Spirit was not sent. We would not be here, the Christian Church would not exist. Their strength, fortitude, enthusiasm and perseverance led to that which we know today.

Filled with the Spirit they were emboldened to speak, compelled to speak. What does Pentecost mean for us? We are to ask for God to fill us until we are overflowing with His spirit, until we are compelled to speak, to go and to do.

May the words of the hymn 241 be our prayer today.

Dove - symbol of the Holy Spirit

“Holy spirit, we welcome you

Holy spirit, we welcome you

Move amongst us with holy fire

As we lay aside all earthly desire

Hands reach out and hearts aspire

Holy spirit, holy spirit, holy spirit, we welcome you

Holy spirit, we welcome you

Holy spirit, we welcome you

Let the breeze of your presence blow,

That your children here might truly know

How to move in the spirit's flow.

Holy spirit, holy spirit, holy spirit, we welcome you

Please accomplish in me today

Some new work of loving grace I pray

Unreservedly have your way

Holy spirit holy spirit holy spirit we welcome you

Please accomplish in me today

Some new work of loving grace I pray

Unreservedly have your way

Holy spirit holy spirit holy spirit we welcome you

God bless you all today, be filled, be strong and be brave. Holy Spirit we

(replace with ‘I’ to make it personal) welcome you ‘ Amen”

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