Reflection: The Spirit at Work Here
Acts 2: 1-8
Holy and amazing God, may we ever be open to the renewal of our lives and the life of the church by your Spirit. May we open our hearts and minds each day to witness to the acts of the Spirit among us here. Amen.
One Sunday early last month, I was so glad to hear that Paul and Wendy were interested in becoming members of our church. A week later, I felt honoured when Rose told me that she would like to join the church before I left in June. In the same week, I was delighted when Vida approached me downstairs and asked me, “What should I do to join the church? Would you baptize me?” All that happened in such a short time.
Later last month, encouraged by the prospect of four new members, I approached Heather and asked if she was interested in becoming a member. Her first question was, “What would be the difference if I became a member?” I knew that, although she was working full time, she had been very active in the church since she began to come last year, including singing in the choir on Sundays. My answer was, “Well, at least you would have voting privileges.” Immediately, I realized that I was not prepared to give her a meaningful answer. At any rate, with her usual big smile, she said, “Yes, I am interested.” I think she said yes not because my answer was so terrific, but because something inside her had already prepared her to say so.
Listening to those voices, I was certain that something was going on here. It is difficult to explain what that is. In
something mysterious, but definitely positive, is at work here. As believers, we say it is the Spirit of God
at work. Today’s passage from Acts tells
us that we are not alone. The author of Luke is thought to be the author of the
Acts of the Apostles. Acts 2, in this second book of Luke’s story, describes
the celebration of the festival of Pentecost after Jesus’ death, resurrection,
and ascension. Acts tells about how the disciples, including not only “The
Twelve” but many other men and women who had followed Jesus, have continued to
meet since the Resurrection. They are gathered in one place, and then an
amazing thing happens. There is a sound “like the rush of a violent wind,” an
echo of the wind of the Spirit blowing over the waters of creation. Divided
tongues “as of fire,” symbols of God’s presence, appear and rest separately on
the head of each disciple. All then are filled with the Spirit and begin to
speak in many languages, telling the story of Jesus the Christ in ways that all
Preparing for today’s service, I have met with all these new members face to face and asked them the same question: “Why are you interested in joining the church?” Their answers were almost identical: they felt welcomed and supported by so many caring and friendly people at Glen Rhodes. Their answers helped me understand what has been going on here. As we gather here every week, the wind and fire of the Spirit has appeared and rested on each one of us. Filled with the Spirit, we together have made this place caring and welcoming. So, last month, I should have said to Heather that, if she joined the church, she would belong to a wonderful church family full of people aflame with the fire of the welcoming and caring Spirit.
If Pentecost had not happened, with its experience of the Holy Spirit renewing and inspiring that band of fearful discouraged followers, the Christian Church would never have emerged in any form. Pentecost was the catalyst that propelled the disciples out to tell their story of the risen Christ and share their experience of transformation on their journey. In the same way, the ministry of Glen Rhodes United would not be possible without the Holy Spirit at work among us here. On this Pentecost Sunday, let us continue to celebrate God’s gift of the Spirit to our church, welcoming five new members today by baptism and by transfer of their membership. Thanks be to God!