Anyone obsessed with the competition of that cheer, “We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do! We’ve Got Spirit, How ‘Bout YOU!?!?” And then the ensuing, “WE’VE GOT MORE! HEY!” Over and over until one turns hoarse? Well, it’s going through my head today as Pentecost unfolds….the day of celebration. Celebrating the arrival of the Spirit. A Spirit that never gives up or leaves us.
Today’s Pentecost. We celebrated last year too and MUCH of that impetus came from an acquaintance, Hugh Donnelly. He helped lead a great seminar at the Annual Recreation Workshop that Matt and I attended at Montreat back in May of 2010. Hugh shared practical ways to bring the church calendar into a tangible reality for kids (and often times, for adults too!). So, Pentecost became one of those weird “tongues of fire”, “speaking in many languages” situations that could be tackled with the kids. An attempt to create some reality around it.
So, in the month of Gough birthdays, we put up the festive decorations and are celebrating the birthday of the church today. I’m teaching Sunday school (I get to make cupcakes with the 3rd graders….can you beat that for a Sunday School teaching assignment?!?!). Matt’s teaching the Middle Schoolers (and bringing donuts) and our kids are in festive wear at home.
Alex deemed himself “Pentecost Boy”. Super Heroes, church style. LORDY, BE!
I often wonder what our boys will glean from us. So far, it’s a hodge podge of emotions, words (not all good ones!) and funny wardrobe choices, but I’m hoping that it also includes some basic understandings of God’s immense love and joy over them.
Last night, Alex was asking about the church….he said something like, “The church is a place with a lot of singing where you give money. It’s just a building.” Matt and I exchanged a look and thought about the truth to that. Matt shared about how the church is actually much more than that…..it’s about the PEOPLE. A tough concept for a five year old, but one to really impress upon him, I think. Especially today. Celebrating Pentecost, the birthday of the church, is so much more than a building. And money. And music. It’s celebrating the birth of a new journey and adventure. One which left the sad, scared and mourning followers of Christ with a new energy, resolve and passion for following the One which had guided and led them. Despite his departure, he had left a Comforter. He had given a Presence to walk with them. He had gifted One who would settle, inhabit, and dwell within.
So whether you put on your red, superhero Pentecost gear or not, may you feel a fresh wind of his Presence today….settling, inhabiting and dwelling within.
When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.
5-11There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when they heard, one after another, their own mother tongues being spoken, they were thunderstruck. They couldn’t for the life of them figure out what was going on, and kept saying, “Aren’t these all Galileans? How come we’re hearing them talk in our various mother tongues?
Parthians, Medes, and Elamites;
Visitors from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene;
Immigrants from Rome, both Jews and proselytes;
Even Cretans and Arabs!
“They’re speaking our languages, describing God’s mighty works!”
12Their heads were spinning; they couldn’t make head or tail of any of it. They talked back and forth, confused: “What’s going on here?”
13Others joked, “They’re drunk on cheap wine.”