Pentecost Sunday Acts 2: 1-11: 1 Corinthians 12: 3-7 and 12-13; John 20: 19-23
4 T HE EARTH was without form and void. and dark Its was upon We face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters". The opening verses of Genesis describe an all enveloping chaos. That chaos is often reflected in the human spirit.
Like the first creation, we can know the darkness of a life without meaning or purpose. At the first creation, the Spirit of God moved above the waters, the unspoken accompaniment of creation. From the heart of chaos, God called forth life and meaning.
Pentecost was the new creation. Once again the spirit of God rested upon his people. Again the Spirit moved through the chaos of a sinful world. Again there was light and life.
The Acts of the Apostles describes something more than a single event taking place long ago at the first Pentecost. The words remind us of what we have become through the spirit entrusted to us. Initially the apostles were alone. They could not venture beyond the closed doors of their own inadequacies and fears. Suddenly the emptiness of that room could no longer contain the mighty wind, nor the tongues of fire that rested upon their heads. Long ago thunder and lightening, wind and fire, had signalled the presence of God on his holy mountain.
Here was something more wonderful. The Spirit of God dwelt within the apostles, and through them became the gift entrusted to all God's people.
The external manifestations of that first Pentecost, however awesome. were but a faint reflection of that inner transformation given to all who welcome the Holy Spirit.
The gift of speech was the first demonstration of the Holy Spirit among the apostles.
Confident speech flows from the heart, from what we know and understand. Such confidence replaced the previous hesitation of the apostles. Through the Holy Spirit, the words of Jesus became the driving force of their lives. They could not remain silent. The same Holy Spirit touched the hearts of those who listened. No longer were words a barrier separating people. Words in themselves, however eloquent, are not enough. The Holy spirit alone imparts an understanding which truly hears, opening itself to the coming Of God. As we celebrate Pentecost, let us pray for such understanding of the heart. Through such understanding, Christ dwells in our hearts and speaks to the world in a voice which can be plainly heard.
St John's account of the Risen I.ord elaborates the work of the Holy Spirit. Once again the disciples were locked away. The presence of Jesus had the power to transform them. "Jesus stood among them. He said to them Peace be with you and they were filled with Joy."
Christ confirmed this peace in his disciples as he breathed the Holy Spirit into them. "Receive the Holy Spirit." The Spirit that freed their hearts was a Spirit of forgiveness. ' For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven.' It is in the Spirit alone that we are freed from the burden of past guilt.