1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
When Jesus ascended he had physically left those he walked with on earth but when the Spirit descended, there was no longer a separation between man and God. God's Spirit came to dwell in the center of our souls and is continually welcoming us to awaken a relationship with Him Who dwells within.
The story of Pentecost can be found in chapter two of the book of Acts. It's a touching account that shows the power of the presence of God. I invite all of you to read it here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts%202&version=NIV
After reading chapter two today, to reflect on the significance of Pentecost, something struck me. It was the response to Peter's commands of those who received Christ that first day of Pentecost. After instructing them to repent and be baptized he told them to “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
What was the response to those who wished to receive the Holy Spirit?
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
The first thing that I found significant is the theme of community. They broke bread and prayed together. Not only were they in fellowship with one another but they seemed to be in pure unity. (44) All the believers were together and had everything in common.
Wow! Can you imagine what the Church would look like today if we could say that of her? That we "had everything in common"? Something tells me if that were the case today we would be doing a great many more acts of charity, spreading more peace and love in this world. There would be a lot more glimpses of heaven on earth.
Their second response was (45) They sold their possessions to give to anyone that had need. This was a sure sign of influence of the Spirit in their hearts. God calls us continually throughout the Old and the New Testament to have compassion for those suffering and in need. Not only does it show that the love of God, pouring through their hearts is manifesting Himself in their deeds but it also is a sign of them denying their own selves, their attachments, the "stuff" of this world and to cling to the promises and the presence of God first and foremost.
So that makes me wonder....what is my response to God's call for me? What is your response? Are we, in gratitude for the gifts of the Spirit and the Spirit himself dwelling in our hearts, letting God's love manifest in our lives, in our actions? Are we denying the transient and fleeting things that are culture has to offer to pursue those blessings that are eternal? Are we stepping past our comfort zones to help the poor and the suffering?
I know I could be doing more. Perhaps most of us could be. It's a process...conforming less to this world and more into Christ's image. I do know the Spirit, that dwells within our hearts, is their to guide us, to teach us. Jesus himself told us that, "26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. "
Each of us has the discernment and power to help change this world and bring hope to the hopeless, good news to the poor and to bind the brokenhearted. (Isaiah 61:1) We have a way of becoming light in this world and also to experience a peace that surpasses all understanding. We have the divine presence of God within us. He's just waiting for our minds to sweep the clutter from it's corridors and leave them bare so that He can fill every passageway. When we empty ourselves He fills us- with His promises of peace, instructions, love and discernment.
Let's observe this day in gratitude as we celebrate the Church's first birthday. May the Spirit act in amazing ways throughout the Body this day, spurring the hearts of all towards reconciliation with each other and a zealous fervor to demonstrate Christ's love and compassion throughout our world.
Thoughts? I'd love to hear them! Please leave them in the Comments section.