When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven
and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire
that separated and came to rest on each of them.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit .…—Acts 2:1-4a
Well… for one thing, the color of Pentecost is fire—all red and orange and hot. Think about what those colors do to you (and could do for you)! Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow and it exudes joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. We sure could use all this kind of energy in our ministry—all of our ministries. Imagine what might happen if we shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with the kind of passion those colors evoke.
And then there is the whole Holy Spirit thing—After about ten days of gathered prayer, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit indeed came upon the gathered community, giving them power, and insight, and wisdom to be used in mighty ways for the Kingdom of God. What had been an association of like-minded followers became a community, united in the very power of God working in their lives and in their midst. Filled with the Holy Spirit—community was created. Those praying, Spirit-filled-folk could understand and talk to each other in the language of the other. They were moved to be baptized and to become connected as one community. This idea that when the Holy Spirit is present we become connected in ways that we could not be connected on our own power is at the core of my understanding of church—and it thrills me to think about it and see it in action.
I could go on for a while longer about why I love Pentecost, but I am running out of room. Suffice it to say, then—that I am in love with what happened (and continues to happen) as a result of the Pentecost Fire of the Holy Spirit: Once they were gathered then they were scattered—gathered and scattered people of God’s Spirit. Those disciples got sent to pour out that fire and energy and love and passion all over the place. God gathers individuals into community and the Holy Spirit names us God’s children. God scatters diverse signs and words and disciples-sent-to-witness. In that scattering the Spirit creates life and renews the very earth. And the God-sent Holy Spirit show us the way.
Beloved, God’s Spirit gathers and then scatters the community of the church to bring life to it and to the world. Where and for what purposes do you and our church experience the Spirit’s gathering and the Spirit’s scattering? How might we celebrate and share the gift of God’s Spirit this Pentecost?