Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Stations of the Resurrection--Fourteenth Station--The Holy Spirit Descends at Pentecost
("Pentecost," quilt by Linda Schmidt)
The Fourteenth Station--The Holy Spirit Descends at Pentecost
Leader: O Risen Christ, Light of the world, we adore you;
People: God's plan for the disciples was made known in tongues of fire.
As the disciples pondered what God had in store for them next, they were more than likely not prepared for quite so dramatic an answer. As they were together in one place, a noise started to build--a rush of wind. Some of them must have looked up--was a storm brewing? There had been no distant noise of wind, no stillness before the storm, as one would expect.
Suddenly, the entire house was filled with the roaring noise of wind, as if a tornado had burst into the house--but instead of everything in the house blowing around, tongues of fire sprang from the air and landed on each of them. Many of them jumped, thinking they themselves were on fire, but the flames could not be patted or smothered out, and they did not wipe off. What was happening?
Certainly they were also noticing these tongues of fire on each other. Perhaps the one who spoke first looked at another and said, "Hey, you're on fire!" But his utterance didn't come out in Aramaic; it came out in some other language. Yet both the speaker and the listener understood each other. They must have all tried speaking after that--did each of them suddenly have this gift? As it turns out, they did, and the room must have been a marvelous hubbub of many languages and smiling faces as their bewilderment and fear turned to amazement.
Not only was the Holy Spirit in the room, she had distributed herself to each of the disciples. Suddenly, Jesus' having left them was not so worrisome, because it was apparent that they would not simply have to "soldier on without him." A power bigger than themselves would accompany them, and they would not be doing this alone.
Leader: God distributed his Holy Spirit among all the disciples;
People: Just as God has distributed the Holy Spirit among each of us.
Leader: Let us pray.
(a brief period of silence is observed.)
God of power and might,
sometimes we long for your small still voice,
but instead, you answer us in the rush of a whirlwind.
You distribute among each of us gifts and talents,
skills that land on us like tongues of fire,
that we cannot brush off, no matter how hard we try.
Give us a sense of awe about them and speak to them
instead of stomping around trying to extinguish them.
When we see your gifts that you have distributed to others,
open our mouths to praise them, no matter what language we use,
with the trust that our words are capable of being understood.
Leader: Alleluia! Christ is risen!
People: The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Leader: Lord Jesus Christ, you rose again, conquering sin and death;
People: Empower us to be messengers of your light and glory.
Leader: We thank you, Lord God Almighty, for the miracles of Easter--stories of resurrection, recognition of your power, and the realization of the Incarnation of your Son that resides in each of us.
Remind us that we truly are an Easter people--that in each of our life chapters of exodus, exile, and repentance, resides a resurrection and a restoration.
When we feel the wind of your Holy Spirit, persuade us to merely hold out our hand and catch what your divine wind blows into it, to close our hand and hold it close, ingest it, and continue to spread it throughout the world. Make every day of our lives a Pentecost, to hear your word and speak it in many languages--the language of our willing hands, the language of our actions, and the language of a humble heart.
We ask these things of you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever,
Leader: This concludes our Stations of the Resurrection. Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.