< – label example – >
We like to label things.
What denomination did you tick on your census?
regardless of what you might have ticked,
no matter what you preference might be,
we are all Pentecostal’s.
We are people who believe in and emphasise the work and leading of the Holy Spirit.
There are a few things we need to emphasise about the Spirit.
The first thing to emphasise is that the Holy Spirit came to Creation when God breathed it into creation.
It didn’t come when Jesus left,
it has always been with us.
the Spirit was breathed into creation,
there is no escaping it,
we breathe God’s Spirit in and out thousands of times a day.
A gift of the Spirit
So if that is so,
why did Jesus say I’ll send you the Holy Spirit?
Why did he say wait for the Spirit?
Did he get it wrong?
And the answer is no,
it has more to do with the neounces or peculiarities of translation.
On Easter day,
in John 20,
Jesus breathes on the disciples and says: “receive the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit comes to them,
then and there,
not at Pentecost.
Why the discrepancy?
The issue is one of translation.
It is more accurate to translate John 20 as: “receive A Holy Spirit”
but in English that sounds wrong.
So we tend not to do this,
otherwise it sounds like there are multiple Spirits,
which there are not.
We then have to read John chapters 14 – 17, to understand chapter 20.
In John Chapters 14 – 17 Jesus promises his disciples that he will grant them wisdom,
the right words, and an advocate who will put their case to others.
So in John chapter 20,
he isn’t saying so much: “receive a Holy Spirit.”
but rather: “receive a GIFT of the Holy Spirit.”
or maybe “receive a MANIFESTATION of the Holy Spirit.”
The emphasis is receive a new way of living,
receive a new gift from God,
to help you in this moment,
and the moments to come.
John doesn’t tell us what the disciples received on that Easter morning.
Maybe it was faith?
Maybe it was courage?
Whatever the gift was they received,
when they received the Holy Spirit’s work in their life that day,
it enabled them to believe,
to meet with the risen Jesus,
and to wait in Jerusalem.
Jesus told them to wait,
to wait until they received the power of the Spirit.
The Spirit would give them boldness,
and they needed to wait for the right moment when people would be gathered.
And they would know the moment because the Spirit would come in power,
it would be unmistakable,
and it was unmistakable.
There was a strong breeze,
the Spirit in Creation was moving;
like the Spirit hovered over creation and amazing things happened,
so the Spirit hovered,
stirring things again.
This time tounges of fire,
rested on people like flames.
There was what we call the kindling of the heart of God within us for boldness.
And before all of this,
the disciples had to wait.
Not absent, but coming in power
It wasn’t that the Spirit was absent,
it wasn’t that the Spirit wasn’t working,
but rather they simply had to wait for the power,
for the Spirit to come in power.
The new testament,
is full of the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
whether it is those that Paul names,
or the other gifts that were experienced, but un-labelled.
And on the day of Pentecost,
the disciples weren’t given what we commonly call the gift of tounges,
rather they were given the gift of other languages.
Often the gift of tongues is called the language of heaven,
or the language of God,
or God’s prayer language.
What happened on Pentecost wasn’t this though.
Instead all of a sudden the disciples could speak other languages.
It was like all of a sudden they could speak:
german, french, italian, russian, mandarin, cantonese, japanese.
They could speak languages that those around them could understand.
The perfect translator,
the Holy Spirit was at work.
Gathering together the people of God that had been spread and split.
God’s Spirit works for together-ness.
To bring people together and proclaim the love of God.
And in that one day,
all those people gathered together,
could hear the message of Jesus,
and the message of salvation,
of forgiveness of sins,
of new life,
and of the empowering of Christ.
These people were preached to,
and 5,000 people went away that day,
back to their different countries to pass the message on…
The Holy Spirit had enabled these un-educated disciples to speak another langauge,
and to pass the story on.
The Holy Spirit had not only gifted tools of translation,
but also the boldness to do the work.
Those who had not heard the message yet were gifted disciples
who with boldness could speak to them.
It doesn’t matter what language you can speak if you are too timid to speak it.
But the Holy Spirit gave them boldness,
courage and the skills.
And the Gospel spread.
Jesus offers you and me,
a new start,
and the boldness to go and tell this to others too.
Today there is an opportunity to pray for each other.
I would invite you,
after receiving communion to come forward,
and to light a prayer candle,
and come to God in prayer.
Maybe you might want to receive the Holy Spirit,
maybe you might want to be reminded of God’s Presence,
maybe you might want to be anointed,
maybe you might want to be refreshed
whatever is on your heart,
know that as you come God will meet you in that moment,
and will minister to you just as you need.
Today we are all Pentecostal’s.
May you let God breathe the new life in to you that you desire.
Revd Dion J. Blundell 2012 (Distributed under Creative Commons agreement CC [BY-SA])
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 New Zealand License. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nz/
Let us pray: Gracious God,
(cc) by: Revd Dion J. Blundell 2012
Creator God, you are our God, and we worship you.
We thank you for your mercy and love.
we have remembered your first coming in power.
Today in anticipation, like the first disciples waiting for your coming, empowering Spirit, we watch and pray.
Holy Spirit of God, meet us in this moment as you met the apostles of old.
Be with us, Holy Spirit, bring faith and hope, we pray.
Come Holy Spirit, be present in your power.
BE STILL AND KNOW
New birth for us by water and the Spirit is your gift, a gift that none can take away;
grant that we may grow into the fulness of the stature of Christ.
Fill us with the joy of your presence. Increase in us the fruit of your Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of love, patience and gentleness, the spirit of wonder and true holiness. AMEN.