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Yesterday we celebrated Pentecost.  I wish I had had my camera with me to get a photo of the communion table.  On Pentecost every brings in a red candle and places it on the communion table.  At the beginning of the service, the pastor lights them all to symbolize the spread of the Holy Spirit.

For those of you who may not know the story of Pentecost, this is Acts 2: 1-12, NIV.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.  When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

I’m not sure why this only came to me when I saw the quote above, but Pentecost is a story of God’s love.  This is God meeting the people where they are.  Why do I think that?  Because he sends them the Gospel in their own languages.

I can’t help but think that when he tells us to love one another, he wants us to do the same.  He wants us to deliver his word without preamble and without conditions.  Simple, straight forward and without preamble, just because.


peaceWith today being Pentecost, I’ve been noodling over a post about the Holy Spirit.  I wanted to write about how we bring it to those around us, but couldn’t come up with a solid idea until I saw my son in action.

If you are anything like me, it is one thing to forgive someone who has wronged you, but another altogether to forgive someone who has messed with your kid. Let’s just say that I can be a truly impressive Mama Bear.

Friday afternoon, I dropped my son off for a Scouting trip.  I was helping load gear when I heard them call out car pools.  I was sure I must have heard something wrong, but no.  They had put my son in the same car as the boy he’s had so much trouble with. We had talked to the Scout master who had spoken with the other parents, but could I trust that things would be better?  Now, I could do something about it, but later it would be completely out of my hands.

My first instinct was to step in and protect. Of course, this would mean labeling the other boy.  Undesirable.

Instead of saying something to the Scout master, I decided to feel my son out. He knows me so he knows I have his back. If he wanted me to step in, I would. He held my gaze and looked me in the eye. “It’s been better, Mom. I want to give him a chance.”

He wanted to show Grace.

I had to take a deep breath first, but then I nodded.

We all make mistakes.  There are times we are just mean.  But when we ask, God gives us a second chance.  When we do this with other people, we show them the strength and majesty of the Holy Spirit, the God of second chances.


Pentecost is a time for us to examine the Holy Spirit at work in our lives today.
I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time spotting the Spirit in my life. I think that a big part of this is because when I think about people moved by the spirit, I think about people doing big things – Mother Theresa, Bishop Desmond Tutu.

But every now and again, I get my act together enough to remember that the Spirit doesn’t always come as a great wind or tongues of flame. The Spirit can be a gentle persistent breeze moving through and around the people we see on a regular basis.

When I remember to look carefully, I can see people using their Gifts for the Glory of God.

  • Our choir director seeks out inspirational music to lift our hearts and souls closer to God.
  • Our Sunday school teachers who work with both adults and children helping them to understand the Word of God.
  • The elders who sponsored our Confirmation students.
  • The ushers who keep our services running smoothly.
  • The man who comes with his son and maintains our gardens giving us places of quiet contemplation.
  • The woman who prepares coffee fellowship so that people linger and share.
  • The retired engineer who works to feed orphans in Haiti and shared his experiences with our congregation.
  • The physical therapist who talks to our seniors and other members, helping them understand what their doctors have told them.
  • The history buff who gets us together to visit special exhibits at the local history museum.
  • The elder who comes in the evening and replaces lights and makes repairs.
  • The woman preparing the annual quilt to be auctioned as a fund raiser.
  • The choir member who arranged for us to work at a local food pantry.

Look for the people who are Blessing the world with their talents.  Chances are they have been touched by the Spirit.

Then consider what the Spirit is moving you to do for the greater good. It may not be one huge thing, but a series of small actions that add up to make a difference.


The Holy Spirit has always been kind of a tough concept for me. God the Father and God the Son, those I can wrap my brain around, but God the Spirit? Not really. Or at least, not until recently.

The other day, I was out for one of my walks. Walks break up my writing day. They give me thinking time, moving time, time away from my computer and time in the sunshine. I’ve always felt closer to God after a walk although I’ve always been a little sketchy on why.

On this particular walk, I couldn’t help but notice the wind. It wasn’t a particular cold day, especially given that it is January, but a steady wind blew. Not hard, but I couldn’t miss the feel of it on my face or the sound as it whispered through the dry leaves that clung to the oak trees.

The wind was everywhere.

On Sunday, Pastor Helen preached on the Spirit and one thing that she said stood out. In both Hebrew and in Greek, the words for spirit and wind are one in the same.

I started thinking about God the Spirit being everywhere and in everything. Isn’t that easy to conceptualize when you think of God the Spirit as the wind? Although we don’t see the wind, it circles around and over everything. It moves things. It carries things to us. It changes and shapes the world we live in.

Just like the Holy Spirit.


New International Version (NIV)

8 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Our church has a new pastor.  One of the things that Pastor Helen is doing is introducing us to a lot of new  music.  We are also sharing with her what we love.

This hymn may be an oldie, but it is one of my favorites.


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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