I find it very interesting that it’s not only Jesus who promises to send us the Spirit.
There’s a similar pledge recorded by Joel, an Old Testament prophet writing about 400 years before the time of Christ. Joel channels the Lord as saying,
It shall come to pass: I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind;
Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions;
Even upon the servants and the handmaids, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
In one sense, this is a very unsettling prediction. There’s a tendency, I think, for us to impose chronos — earthly time and space constraints — on the workings of God in our lives. We expect things to happen in order, through proper channels — as surely as Pentecost follows the Easter season.
Seems to me, this is a pattern of thought which might lead us into temptation: ‘Not yet, Holy One: I’m not quite ready for You.’
In contrast, Joel seems to be saying ‘Expect the Spirit to show up in times and places and people that might surprise you.’
So, yes: We do well to celebrate the great feast of Pentecost today — the birthday of the Church.
But it might also be wise if we look beyond the annual return of this one-day feast to invite the Spirit into our lives.
Or, as a dear friend of mine recently observed,
What if the Spirit is here…no waiting…just notice and be enfolded …
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