Pentecost and the Holy Spirit

by Pastor Heath Howe, Family Ministries

As Pentecost approaches, I have been thinking a good deal this month about the Holy Spirit, specifically how to know and recognize the Holy Spirit.  When I read the book of Acts, I see the Holy Spirit is the power that motivates the disciples and later Paul.  The Holy Spirit is the energy that enables them to be brave.  The Holy Spirit is the one who gives them the words they need and kindles the faith they have come to claim with all they have.  The Holy Spirit is the love that holds and binds the followers of Christ together.

For a while I thought the Holy Spirit was only an external reality or part of the Trinity that was given to us by Christ.  I thought of it as separate from us.  Now, as I continue my reflection and study, I am beginning to believe that the Holy Spirit is a part of us.  Yes, a gift given, but we then become a part of the Spirit as much as it is a part of us.  The Holy Spirit seems to be the holy place within us:  that holy place that we have had all along, even in the womb.  It is within this holy place where we and the Spirit are one that we find the courage, love, faith and hope we need to live as Easter people, disciples of Christ, children of God.

It can be easy to forget about our holy core; therefore we must create time and places to reconnect with it or even realize it for the first time.  Such times can be on Sunday morning in the sanctuary but they can also be on a Tuesday morning or a Thursday night in our own homes.  With this in mind, I offer you the following tool.

Preparation: Place a red cloth or a red candle on a table, along with a small candle for each person present.  You will also need a bible.  Light the red candle.

Welcome (read by leader):  For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.  Welcome to this day for inspiring courage.
Bible Text (read by another present):  Acts 2:1-24, 37-47.  This is a story of an experience that turned timid, frightened men and women into bold people: people who could tell the world that Jesus rose from the dead, people who could tell their own story about how the teachings of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit changed their lives.

Reflection/Ritual Action:
First, share or write in a journal about how, where, or with whom you want to show the love of Jesus more boldly. 

Second, share or write in a journal about a time when you were afraid and God gave you both the courage and the ability to say or do something important.  Then share or write in a journal about a current situation in which you need the courage to say or do something important.  What are your fears about it?  What keeps you from acting boldly?  

When you are ready, light your candle from the center candle, saying, "Holy Spirit, fill me with courage to show Christ's love and to say and do what you desire."

Prayer: Pray the Lord's Prayer aloud.

Blessing: May the Holy Spirit of courage and power guide us and makes us one.  Amen.