Today I’m thinking of our family friend, Phyllis Schrag. Phyllis told me that when she was a little girl her pastor would often say the phrase “Fill us with the Holy Spirit.” What she heard was Phyllis with the Holy Spirit. She felt so special until she realized that the prayer wasn’t about her. Well, at least it wasn’t JUST about her.
Pentecost is this Sunday, a good time to consider what it might mean to be filled with the Spirit as individuals and as a church. It is also a good Sunday for a baptism (Scott Weast). After all, Pentecost is when we celebrate the birth of the church.
Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, was a spring barley harvest festival held 50 days after Passover. At the time of Pentecost people from all over the Roman Empire gathered in Jerusalem to give thanks for the harvest and to remember the giving of the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The writer of the book of Acts tells us that people from all over the Empire flocked to this festival. At one such Pentecost celebration something extraordinary happened. A sound was heard like the rush of a violent wind. Soon, people began speaking and understanding languages that they had not previously known. What did this look like you may wonder? Here is one artist’s depiction titled “Outpouring.”
The artist Kathy Ammon writes that “Outpouring” is an expression of the glorious light of God pouring out God’s Spirit over the people. Like a bright light shining in the wilderness, flowing like a river over the thirsty, the lost and the broken, there is blessing and healing through the hope and peace of Jesus Christ.”
May this outpouring of love and spirit be evident as we gather for worship on Sunday.