Pentecost tells us of the radical reach of God’s love. As we start this era in the Church’s year called ‘ordinary time’, it is good to be reminded of this. And this year more than ever. Some of you are graduating and going out into new pastures. We are all emerging from lockdowns. There is a lot to think about.
In the days coming up to Pentecost, we have seen in our readings how Peter and the ‘circumcised believers’ were astonished to see the Holy Spirit baptise the household of Cornelius, a Gentile Roman centurion. We then looked at the start of Luke’s book of Acts – Luke, the Gentile physician who observes, thinks and carefully orders his account. Luke shows in Acts 1 how the disciples still don’t get it. They still don’t see the reach of God’s love. They ask Jesus: “Are you now going to restore the Kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1-6). Jesus reply resets the question: “Wait. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes, and you will witness to the ends of the Earth”.
For me the wonder of Pentecost is the historical fact that it must have happened. Something so empowers 12 men and their followers, that they tell the story with such power then, that we are still believing and learning about Jesus 2000 years later.
There is power in this blessing.
The miraculous happens. Then people from all over the region heard worship in their own language. Now, when we look, we see more miracles than we are at first aware of.
And the punchline of this blog? It is to note that the Holy Spirit descends on everyone. It didn’t just land on Peter or James or John, who were so empowered that everyone else listened. It was everyone involved in this blessing. That is the hallmark of God’s love, and so it is for us today. For everything we do, whether up front or behind the scenes, is part of this mission to help build God’s kingdom. Paul blesses us in Romans 15:13 by saying: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope in the power of the spirit.”