“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as she enabled them.” — Acts 2:4 The Inclusive Bible
This Sunday, 50 days after Easter, many churches will celebrate Pentecost. Pentecost was originally Shavuot, the Hebrew Festival of the Weeks, a pilgrim festival of thanksgiving for the first fruits of the wheat harvest. After receiving the five Books of the Law given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai, Shavuot became known as Pentecost, a festival of remembrance and thanksgiving for the Law which guides people through the chaos and uncertainty of daily life.
As Jesus’ followers were celebrating Pentecost 10 days after his ascension, they were surprised by the sound of a violent rushing wind from heaven which filled the entire house where they were meeting. Something which looked like tongues of fire rested on the head of each one, filled them with truth and love and enabled them to speak in many languages. This outpouring of the Spirit fulfilled Jesus’ promise and empowered his followers to spread the good news of divine love and new beginnings to all people and nations.
Today when people are filled with the Spirit, some feel overwhelmed with emotion and are moved to tears while others experience a subtle feeling of gratitude, awe, love and peace. The Holy Spirit is the inner GPS who guides and empowers people to live in the wise ways of the Law. Through prayer, study of the Word and daily listening for the Spirit, some receive impressions, thoughts or ideas on their heart to say something or do something which is in accord with God’s Word and will — something which leads to blessing and freedom, not to oppression or control.
One of my favorite parts of the Pentecost story is the way the Spirit empowered people to share, create caring communities and make sure everyone’s needs were met. One can know the Spirit’s presence wherever there is truth and love, caring and sharing.
The Rev. Celia M. Hastings has a master's degree in religious education from Western Theological Seminary in Holland. She is author of “The Wisdom Series” and “The Undertaker’s Wife.”
This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Hastings: Pentecost