The readings for this week are so experiential and visual, which is truly a wonderful introduction to recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit in and around us. The challenge with these readings, as with many like this, is to take this single, transformative event that became the birth of our church, and make it a real experience in the lives of Christians today and in how we share the good news as a Church.
I find the inclusion of the tower of Babel as an alternative first reading interesting. All the other readings speak of the power of the Holy Spirit, even the experience of tongues in Acts, as a unifying reality. One could use the alternate reading as contrasting these two stories, particularly to emphasize the power of the Holy Spirit to unite God’s people.
The psalm is the one I used to read at the Blessing of the Fleet in Bayfield, Nova Scotia, hearkening to the swarming, beautiful, rich image of creation from Genesis 1:20-23, the fifth day of creation. The image of the Spirit is that which brings life, through God’s breath.
When we talk about how the powerful events of Acts proclaim God in our church today, our small second reading teaches us it is in our cry of ‘Abba’! The Holy Spirit is made real in the life of the church when we call out to God, and the Spirit tells the world that we are one with Christ.
Pentecost is also a wonderful Sunday for much creative and artistic expression. What will you be sharing and experiencing this Sunday?