This coming Sunday is Pentecost. While Christians have no trouble describing the meaning of Christmas and Easter, for many Pentecost remains an enigma. Of the three great holy days of the church, Pentecost is the least understood. But its significance for the church is great.
In Judaism Pentecost commemorated the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. Its meaning for the church is derived from the event described in Acts chapter 2, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. In light of this, the church has described Pentecost as the Festival of the Holy Spirit.
The church is dependent upon the empowering, guiding Spirit of God and this is underlined at Pentecost. Before Jesus ascended into heaven Jesus commissioned his followers for ministry. But their first assignment did not call for a flurry of activity. Rather they were told to go to Jerusalem and wait.
Wait? What can be accomplished by waiting? If we want to get something done we have to get busy, don’t we? We can’t see anything productive and waiting. Are we supposed to show some initiative, some action?
Sometimes in our urgency for action we run ahead of God. Consequently, we move in the wrong direction and accomplish the wrong things. It’s not sufficient for us to be energetic, intelligent or creative. We need to learn how to wait for the empowering, guiding Spirit of God. Otherwise, we will busy ourselves with trying to accomplish what we want to get done. But we will work without a genuine vision of what God wants us to do.
As the early church discovered, waiting is not a waste of time. Sometimes it’s the most important thing that we can do. When we wait on the Spirit of the Lord our waiting will always end up being fruitful.
Grace and Peace,