Pentecost was, a Jewish festival, originally meant to celebrate the harvest, it evolved into a celebration of Moses receiving the Law from God on Mt. Sinai
The disciples of Jesus, all 120 of them perhaps, are gathered together to celebrate that festival
And in the midst of this old thing, the Holy Spirit breaks in to do a radically new thing
It must have been a sight to see, and feel, and hear, don’t you think?
The sound of the rush of a violent wind filled the house
Divided tongues that looked like fire appeared in the room, and one tongue settled on each disciple
And BOOM! They’re all filled with the Holy Spirit
And, filled with the Holy Spirit, they begin speaking, not in tongues, but in other languages
The languages of the people who came together to see what was going on in this room
Certainly not the staid old celebration of the giving of the Law, that’s for sure
This is something new, and different
So new and different that some folks just assume the disciples are drunk
Can you imagine that scene?
A group of Jesus followers suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit, with wind and fire and probably confusion and noise and joy and who knows what all else
So radical, so out there, that crowds gather to see what the heck is going on
Can you imagine such a thing at all?
I read somewhere, what if our worship was so full of joy and laughter that people outside pressed their noses to the windows to see what was going on, and to figure out how to go in and join in
Well, for most of us here today, the Holy Spirit did not come to us in the way she came to the disciples back then
I have never seen a tongue of fire settle on anyone (not saying it can’t happen, just saying I’ve never seen it)
No loud rush of wind, either
No foreign languages spontaneously happening, either
But I have seen the Holy Spirit come to folks just the same
Just, the Spirit came quiet, subtle, without the big show
I’ve seen the Spirit come in the touch of a hand, and in a gentle hug
I’ve seen the Spirit come when prayer is shared
I’ve seen the Spirit come when someone is listened too, when someone is made to know that they are important, even when no one else has told them that before
I’ve seen the Spirit come when a meal is served, when someone comes to us on the third Thursday and is fed, when someone goes to the food pantry and is given food
I’ve seen the Spirit come when someone comes to our flea market and goes away with furniture they never thought they could afford and now have a bed to sleep on
I’ve seen the Spirit come when people reconcile, when people set aside differences, and hurts, and resentments, and slights, and instead embrace forgiveness and love and healing and new starts
I’ve seen the Spirit come when a new person is welcomed into an old group, when a new friend is made, when an outsider is made to feel welcome and not judged
I’ve seen the Spirit come when our youth travel to upstate New York and volunteer on a Mission Trip that rebuilds homes, yes, but more importantly rebuild lives, and hopes, and dreams
I’ve seen the Spirit come when people of faith, people of the Spirit, go out into the world and live that faith, share that Spirit, give unconditional love, offer forgiveness, release hope, work for peace, make a difference in someone’s life
I’ve seen the Spirit come when a baby is brought to the font, when a teen comes to the font, when an adult comes to the font, and water is poured and the words are spoken, I baptize you
And at that same font when other words are spoken, receive the Holy Spirit
I’ve seen the Spirit come in a little piece of bread and a little sip of wine, given and shed for you
Oh yeah, I’ve seen the Spirit come
And you have, too
Because that’s what the Spirit does
The Spirit comes to us, the Spirit comes to other folk beside us, the Spirit comes to folks who’ve never heard of us
The Spirit comes, and when the Spirit comes, new things happen
Spirit things happen
Lives are made new
Boundaries are broken down
Hurts are healed
Pain is relieved
Grief is softened
Loneliness is lifted
Reconciliation happens
Grace is freely given
Love is unconditionally shared
Old things just won’t be enough anymore, because the Holy Spirit makes all things new
Makes all of us new
Makes our church new
Makes our communities new
Makes our country new
Makes our world new
When the Holy Spirit comes, and believe me, the Spirit always comes, things change
People are made bold to testify to the Spirit, and to Jesus who sends the Spirit
New words, faith words, get spoken
People hear the good news in their own language, even when we never thought we knew that language
The old is made new, and the new is given to all people
Today is the festival of Pentecost, the festival of the Holy Spirit
That Holy Spirit was first given to you in your baptism
That Holy Spirit is in you now
That Holy Spirit is sending you out to witness to the good news of Jesus
Come, Holy Spirit, Come