Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day of Pentecost

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." John 20:19-23

Another one of my favorite movies stars Graham Greene and Val Kilmer and is called Thunderheart. The young FBI agent (Kilmer) is sent to the reservation to investigate a murder because he is native. He wasn't brought up on the reservation and isn't interested in staying. The tribal police chief (Greene) is annoyed with the young agent and his lack of respect for their common history and culture. As the movie progressed we find out that the agent is the grandson of a revered and famous medicine man and the agent himself is having visions. The police chief utters my favorite line -"I have waited all my life for a vision. You are here two days and you have yourself a vision!" Some of us wait life times for pentecostal moments, where clear voice and spiritual power find a place and a community. Others are blessed to have those moments often.

The disciples had received the Holy Spirit from Jesus in that closed room during the week after his resurrection. It took time, encouragement and the right circumstances for the gift they had been given to make itself evident. We have all been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, and that same spirit finds the time and place for us to each be empowered to use our gifts. At Pentecost, we have a vivid moment of the disciples empowered to speak across nations and languages -to speak to the heart of all gathered. This pentecostal gift is for all of us, to empower each of us to reach out across boundaries of race, class and clan in order to bring God's love into the world.

Today I ask God to help us all be pentecostal people - those who wait on the movement and power of the spirit to enliven each of us for service. May our heart, hands and voices be lifted up for the love of God and the care and compassion for the world.

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