When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among the, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Acts 2:1-4
Jesus promised his followers that the Holy Spirit would come. He kept his promise and the coming was announced with a mighty wind, tongues of fire, and ability to speak in various languages. Power was released among a frightened group of disciples; their self-isolation brought about by fear disappeared; they talked with and preached to the Jews present in Jerusalem on that day. The group which included both men and women, became a new community of believers, the early church. Even Peter became an eloquent preacher.
The same Holy Spirit is available to us as a gift today. Perhaps we don’t see tongues of fire or experience mighty winds, but we see signs of the presence of the Spirit. Such signs include wisdom to deal with difficulties, anger control, peace advocacy, ability to discern God at work in our world, service to those in need, proclaiming words of hope, and the list can go on and on. The Holy Spirit is still stirring things up in our lives, our communities, our country and the world. Are we open and receptive to the Spirit in our midst?
Throughout his post-resurrection appearances, Jesus proclaimed that he would be with us. He would be different (transformed), but his presence would serve as a guide, counselor, and comforter as we worked on our own discipleship. Come, Holy Spirit once more into our lives.
“Spirit, come, dispel our sadness, pierce the clouds of nature’s night.
Come, O Source of joy and gladness, breathe your life, and spread your light.
From the height which knows no measure, as a gracious shower descend,
bringing down the richest treasure we can wish, or God can send.
Author of the new creation, come, anoint us with your power.
Make our hearts your habitation, with your grace our spirits shower.
Hear, O hear our supplication, blessed Spirit, God of peace!
Rest upon your gathered people with the fullness of your grace. Paul Gerhardt, 1648
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.