Acts 2:1-21 (NRSV)
Acts 2 is just one version of the giving of the Holy Spirit, but it is the most visual. Seeing tongues of fire is much more visual than having Jesus breath on the disciples, though the same thing is implied. As we, in western Christendom celebrate Pentecost we need to remember that we are His ambassadors in the world. Whatever we do, we need to realize and understand that everyone is watching us. Maybe that’s why people hold us to a much higher standard, because Jesus held himself to that standard. It maybe impossible by ourselves, but nothing is impossible with God.
Psalm 104 (NRSV)
God the Creator and Provider
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
2 wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
3 you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
you ride on the wings of the wind,
4 you make the winds your messengers,
fire and flame your ministers.
5 You set the earth on its foundations,
so that it shall never be shaken.
6 You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
7 At your rebuke they flee;
at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
8 They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys
to the place that you appointed for them.
9 You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.
10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills,
11 giving drink to every wild animal;
the wild asses quench their thirst.
12 By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation;
they sing among the branches.
13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
14 You cause the grass to grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to use,
to bring forth food from the earth,
15 and wine to gladden the human heart,
oil to make the face shine,
and bread to strengthen the human heart.
16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 In them the birds build their nests;
the stork has its home in the fir trees.
18 The high mountains are for the wild goats;
the rocks are a refuge for the coneys.
19 You have made the moon to mark the seasons;
the sun knows its time for setting.
20 You make darkness, and it is night,
when all the animals of the forest come creeping out.
21 The young lions roar for their prey,
seeking their food from God.
22 When the sun rises, they withdraw
and lie down in their dens.
23 People go out to their work
and to their labor until the evening.
24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
creeping things innumerable are there,
living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.
27 These all look to you
to give them their food in due season;
28 when you give to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!
Romans 8:14-17 (NRSV)
Paul goes into greater detail about the giving of the Holy Spirit in this passage of Romans. You need to read the whole letter at one time. It’ll give you some interesting insight to Paul. I had never done that until a couple of years ago, in fact when I first started studying to become a lay minister. For years I would read only sections, or a verse at a time. Everything leads to everything else.
Still with the giving of the Holy Spirit God has claimed and adopted us as His child. During this time in the Roman empire a father could disown a biological child, but that same father could not disown an adopted one. Once adopted, it’s permanent. Paul is trying to remind us that God will never give up on us and that we are forever His to care for.
John 14:8-17 [25-27] (NRSV)
Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid, Is how this section ends. What would become the apostles were so insecure and had no idea what was going on. How could they? They didn’t have the Holy Spirit guiding them and teaching them. Jesus knew they didn’t get it and understood fully that only when the Holy Spirit indwelled in them would they finally ‘get it’.
Case in point: shortly after the arrival of the Holy Spirit (especially in the Acts passage) Peter stands up and gives the people the mother of all sermons. Three thousand believed that day.
We may not have a Pentecost like that, but we can still see the results of the outpouring. People caring for one another is just one instance. There are other ways but they’re too numerous to count, and that’s not what I’m blogging about. The question is, will you do that for your fellow non-Christian, or better yet, will you do that for your fellow Christian who thoroughly annoys you?