40th Anniversary: Remembering, Transforming and Recommitting
With the feast of Pentecost upon us, it seems appropriate to reflect on the Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit dwelling within and among us who is the continuing presence of God in our world, in our Church, and in our lives.
Before his death Jesus promised the Spirit as a helper, an advocate (John 14:16), as one who would guide us to all truth. The assigned scripture reading from the Acts of the Apostles recounts the descent of the Spirit on the apostles as they gathered fearfully in the Upper Room. This first Christian community was gathered together, aware of their vocation as disciples, but understandably afraid that they might meet the same fate as Jesus.
But then came the rushing wind that blew open their hearts and breathed new life into them. This was no timid Spirit coming upon them, but one that transformed them from cowardly believers into disciples afire with faith in Jesus and with zeal for the Gospel.
Like those first disciples we, too, are filled with the Spirit. The Feast of Pentecost, then, serves to remind us of the Spirit’s dwelling within each of us and among all of us who form the family of believers. At the same time, the feast offers us the opportunity to pray together for our world, one that stands in desperate need of the Spirit’s energy and movement.
In our Pentecost prayers and hymns, then, we invite the Spirit to renew the face of the earth. We pray that God’s love, which is powerful enough to transform even the hardest of hearts, might touch us and enflame us so that we might bring that same transforming love to the world through people and situations we encounter each day.
We pray also that the breath of the Spirit might enliven us and energize us, and through us breathe new life and new spirit into a dispirited people and world. We pray, finally, that the mighty wind of the Spirit might blow through our land so that goodness and love can grow and flourish once again. God, send out your Spirit and renew the face of our earth. Amen! May it be so!