Pentecost: love poured out, and power for the journey

We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through our faith, Christ has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are very happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit he gave us. – Romans 5:1-5

Love Poured out!

IMG_9941Yesterday – Sunday June 4 – was Pentecost. One of the reasons I appreciate the ebb and flow of the church calendar (Advent, Epiphany, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter, Pentecost etc…) is the implicit reminder that our faith is not one dimensional, that there is a rich texture to ecclesiology, that there is always something new to learn, something more, something from outside our comfortable routine expressions.

Pentecost celebrates the power and the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was not invented in Acts Two, but the work of the Spirit became – as Rebekah pointed out in her message – more personal.

We had been encouraged to wear something red to church, and probably two-thirds of the congregation remembered. My only red shirt is too well worn by golf, and the day was too warm for my red sweater, so I pulled out the loudest red tie that I own. In consequence, “Bob the Tomato” made quite a splash at WFPC! And I found out – sadly – just how many people have had little or no exposure to Veggie-Tales.

The Power of the Spirit:

IMG_9942So here were are (if you’re following the ecclesiastical calendar), in the Season of Pentecost. Claiming the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives as disciples is not about becoming a tongues-speaking “Charismatic,” nor does it mean you are obligated to raise your hands during worship! What it does mean, however, is recognizing that God is with you, and in you, and ready to work through you via the power of his Spirit.

Charismatic, means “grace-gifted (we all are). But a lot of Christians are reticent when it comes to Holy Spirit language, because yielding control to God makes us nervous. God is not interested in embarrassing us so much as equipping us, empowering us, emboldening us, and employing us to do the work of ministry Jesus has called us to do.

Sometimes, that overwhelm of love, and belonging, and God’s presence will suggest something as radical as raising a hand or two during worship… or praying in ways that stretch our ability to articulate, and we shouldn’t close ourselves off to that. But – more likely – the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is simply the indwelling of God’s presence in and through all that we do as believers.

“Bob the Tomato” goes to church

The bottom line here is that it is one thing to believe in God, and to say that we have accepted Jesus… but it is another to live into that faith as a purposeful disciple, as a follower of the Living Way of Jesus; to do that we need the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Break me, melt me,
Mold me, fill me,
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me

Don’t hold back now – Jesus certainly didn’t.


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