Fifty days after Jesus was resurrected, the followers of Jesus gathered in a room in Jerusalem and suddenly the Spirit of God showed up. Acts 2 tells us the Spirit came upon them like tongues of fire and filled the room like a mighty rushing wind. The Jesus followers couldn’t help it, they were drawn out of the room and began proclaiming among the world’s people the good news of Jesus. On that day, over 3,000 people were baptized and the Church was born.
What does it look like when the Spirit of God shows up in our midst today? Does it look like a church growing in ministry and mission? I think it does. Does it look like a church that is willing to take risks for the sake of proclaiming the gospel? I believe so. Does it look like a church whose boundaries grow ever wider as more and more people are welcomed in? Yes, of course.
In so many ways, I see evidence every week of the Spirit’s work in our communal life at UBC. Even so, I continue to pray for the Spirit to guide and direct us as we live into our calling, especially as we work to share the good news of Jesus with those who have never heard it, who have forgotten it, or who have walked away from it (perhaps because they’ve heard versions of the gospel that are not full expressions of Jesus’ love).
This month, as we prepare to celebrate Pentecost on May 24, will you join me in praying that the Spirit will be at work among us at UBC? Perhaps the words of my favorite hymn of Pentecost can help guide our prayers.
Wind Who Makes All Winds that Blow
By Thomas Troeger
Wind that makes all winds that blow—gusts that bend the saplings low, gales that heave the sea in waves, stirring in the mind’s deep cave—aim your breath with steady power on your church, this day, this hour. Raise, renew the life we’ve lost, Spirit God of Pentecost.
Fire who fuels all fires that burn—suns around which planets turn, beacons marking reefs and shoals, shining truth to guide our souls—come to us as once You came: burst in tongues of sacred flame! Light and Power, Might and Strength, fill your church, its breadth and length.
Holy Spirit, Wind and Flame, move within our mortal frame. Make our hearts an altar pyre. Kindle them with your own fire. Breathe and blow upon that blaze till our lives, our deeds and ways speak that tongue which every land by your grace shall understand.