29/04/12 Pentecost is described as the birthday of the Church ....
It is uncomfortable on two levels. First we struggle to comprehend what took place with wind and fire touching disciples leading them to perform wonderfully before crowds of people. Secondly there comes the fear that we may be led to ‘perform’ similar deeds before crowds of friends. Thus we question the importance of Pentecost for our modern spiritual pallet.
The birthday presents of tongues, miracles, healing, courage to speak the gospel etc. have been regarded by some as special effects available for a limited period only. These presents were provided simply to ‘get the show on the road’ and then things could calm down. Some cynics would say that we have become a little too calm. If the gifts were temporary they did the job but many claim that these same gifts are possible today.
Now, people able to speak other languages , perform miracles, heal people and be very keen about Christianity may be just what the church needs. But that doesn’t account for peoples feelings or fears. These can range from worries of drawing attention to one’s self to the fear of being taken over lock, stock and barrel by a God tired of waiting for our service and devotion. Well, we may become more visible if the Holy Spirit works within us but we are not going to be taken-over. God could have legions of faithful, brainless followers just ready for his every will but he has allowed us all the gift of free will. We can opt out of his calling in a moment, we can turn off the ability as we would turn off a kettle.
The Holy Spirit was given to enable the work of the church, to make things easier and show each generation God’s presence. In this church all the gifts of the Spirit have been distributed and they are available; it is just the little matter of knowing who has what when it comes to the gifts. Each of us needs to wait on God to reveal our gift or gifts, once we know we should minister as he calls us. You may not actually know your gift until the very moment you come to use it. This just underlines our need of God’ s power and our reliance on him – which is no bad thing.
So this Pentecost will you ask God to meet with you in a new way?