Acts 2: 1 – 2, 4
When the day of Pentecost had come, the Apostles were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
On that day in Jerusalem on the Jewish feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit offered grace and the Apostles said, ‘Yes.’ Out of that ‘yes’ the Church was born. And from that point forward the Gospel, the good news that God loves each one of us unconditionally and that death is not the end, spread to every corner of the world in every age — even here in the midst of our lives.
But for the fifty days leading up to that day, the Apostles, those special friends of Jesus, were dealing with issues of loss, abandonment, grief and self-doubt. They were broken people. They had spent three joyful years with this wonderful man, this miracle worker, who had made each one of them feel as if he or she was the most loved person in the world. And then suddenly, one evening after a lovely dinner, it all ended. Just like that — he was taken away from them and killed; and their hearts were broken into a million little pieces. After the Resurrection they experienced scattered moments of confused elation, but on Ascension Thursday they felt that Jesus had left them forever. So, on that day in Jerusalem on the feast of Pentecost, the Apostles, those special friends of Jesus, were about to give up.
Loss. Abandonment. Grief. Self-doubt. How many of us can relate to that? — A parent, a child, a friend, a lover ripped from our lives in an instant. But on that day, that Pentecost, their brokenness was healed. By saying, ‘yes’ to the Holy Spirit stirring within them, the Apostles were empowered to pick themselves up off the ground. And as a result we are here together as disciples of Jesus 2,000 years later.
We, like the Apostles, are friends of Jesus. And like the Apostles, we are human beings who during our lifetime must deal with issues of loss, abandonment, grief and self-doubt. We must cope with sickness, death, disillusionment, war, violence and all the uncertainty that surrounds us. But when we meet Jesus in the Eucharist, in Holy Communion, he makes each one of us feel like the most loved person in the world. And as we accept the Eucharist and say ‘Amen’ we are really saying ‘yes’ to God’s grace, just like the Apostles did on that Pentecost day in Jerusalem.
And little by little, day by day, that grace transforms us, and through us the world. It enables us to bring God’s Presence into all the circles of our lives: to our families and friends; to the workplace and the classroom; the streets, the highway; the subway, the supermarket, the gym and every place we go.
That grace enables all of us: young and old, male and female, sick and well, married and single, wealthy and homeless, to be instruments of God’s peace and love for our troubled world. It enables us to do for future generations what the Apostles did for us.
Next time that we are gathered for worship, when the time for Communion comes around and we are all together in one place, if we listen with our hearts as we say our ‘Amen’ we just might hear the sound of a strong driving wind rushing through our souls. And as we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we, like the Apostles, will be transformed — once again.
Readers of this blog might enjoy these books by Deacon Lex. Both are available on Amazon.com:
Just to Follow My Friend: Experiencing God’s Presence in Everyday Life
Synchronicity as the Work of the Holy Spirit: Jungian Insights for Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Ministry