The Day of Pentecost brought the Holy Spirit upon the disciples in a form like a mighty wind, and like a flame, and empowered them to speak and others to hear the gospel of Christ in various languages. Because of this association with wind and fire and miraculous communication we sometimes think of our spiritual life as something separate from our bodies like the air around us. But the essential witness of the Church is to Jesus Christ in whom the Spirit is joined to the human body. It is the interaction of the Spirit with our blood filled bodies that makes the difference. So the hope we proclaim is for the resurrection of our bodies within a new creation, not for a disembodied congregation around a heaven that is not of this world. And the work that we have been given to do by God is to live the love modeled for us by Jesus in his real, mortal, embodied life. We are likewise called to mortal, embodied acts of care and friendship – actually feeding, clothing, visiting, comforting, one another and striving for actual justice and peace among all real living oppressed and suffering people. We should avoid magical or other worldly thinking. It is not for someone else to do for us. There is no other time or place for this work to be done. The Spirit is with us to help us know what it is to live the love of Jesus.
So I encourage you to actually bring some cans of food for the Neighbors Helping Neighbors food collection. And I encourage you to actually teach your children and grandchildren to pray. And I encourage you each to engage in conversations about how best to take the next steps toward justice and peace beginning here and now, in the world as it is, with the neighbors that you have. And I encourage you to do the works of the Spirit in other ways that you are best suited to discern in cooperation with your families, friends, and neighbors.
The Day of Pentecost stirred up the disciples to go out and begin building the church in all nations. And we celebrate the truth that we have been brought into this work in the way that wood is brought into the spreading of a fire, but that instead of being consumed and destroyed by that fire, we become more wonderful versions of ourselves, life bushes that burn but are not consumed. And we celebrate the truth that this work of the Spirit has never yet been interrupted, and will never be stopped. It is our great blessing to have been brought into this work of burning with the Spirit, and to have this opportunity in our humble lives to share in the glorious work of redeeming the world by the power of God’s love made flesh in Christ Jesus.