Pilgrim IV: Belief in the Holy Spirit

I enjoy talking about the Holy Spirit at church, there are many varied experiences and views of how it has had an effect on people and influences our lives.  Before looking at the well-known passage below, we were all encouraged to share how or when we have experienced the presence of God in our lives.

This section of the Pilgrim course focused on Acts 2:1-4

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 2:4 Or languages; also in verse 11

Reflection included:

  • What comes to mind when you hear the words Holy  Spirit?
  • Why do you think it was so important to early Christians?
  • Do you experience the presence of God today? Would you call on the Holy Spirit?

This, of course, is not the first time we’ve looked at the Holy Spirit during Bite Nites, and certainly not the first time we’ve looked at what happened during Pentecost in relation to it.

To put it into context, we’re in the middle of one of the largest celebrations (if not one of the longest running festivals of all time).  People are arriving from many different places and countries, and there are many different languages and dialects being spoken among the people. in situations like that, we’re all too aware that misunderstandings are easy to arise.  It is not only the language but also the cultural differences, expression, slang, mannerisms among others that cause us problems when we communicate.

The marvellous event to follow, happened to all of the disciples gathered in the room; not just a chosen few. Imagine their delight when they realised that what they were saying was being understood by people who previously could not understand them.  There must have been so many problems communicating before this, taking a long time for understanding to be communicated and at times missed altogether.

Now that they were able to communicate across the language barrier with ease, that everything they’d had difficulty in expressing in other languages can suddenly be expressed simply because the person hearing them can understand them, must have been an exhilarating experience.  You can almost sense the joy and happiness radiating from their very core.  It’s no wonder some of the onlookers thought they were drunk; they would have been under the influence of extreme happiness with not a drop of alcohol in sight.

There were other opinions too, people who refused to believe their eyes or their ears, and those who thought it was magic at work, or a trick to deceive them; but for those who trust in what they were seeing, and in what they were hearing this is truly miraculous and will have changed their lives forever.  Imagine being there, witnessing this for yourself; how could you refuse to believe in the love of God, His word, His son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit.

I have to admit that I have admiration for anyone who is multilingual.  I am attempting to learn a few languages myself and I can appreciate how much effort you will have put into learning to be fluent in more than one language.  I was enormously pleased with being able to use the Hebrew phrase Ze Beseder in work today; one of my colleagues told me he’d had some ginger biscuits from the tin on my desk; I believe it was an appropriate way of saying it’s ok and it made me pleased too as he told me I said it correctly (despite my pause to mentally rehearse saying it).

It’s good to talk 🙂

Dear Father, God in Heaven,
We thank you for providing us with skills,
with an ability to communicate
and with patience to learn.
Assist us in using those skills
to cross the walls we surround ourselves with.
Help us to break down all our barriers,
to use your gifts so that we too can share your word
and demonstrate your work among us.
Grant us a bridge over our cultural differences,
that we might find peace in all our lives
and make all that is built by mankind good in your eyes.
Let us see past the limits that we put on ourselves,
and help us to recognise your Holy Spirit residing within each of us
and truly see the gifts you bestow on us all;
that we may serve you faithfully,
in truth, with all our heart,
with all our mind
and with all our body.
This we pray, guided by your Holy Spirit
and in the name of Jesus Christ,
your son, 
our saviour and Lord

Amen