Blown by the Just Spirit of God.

Today, Pentecost Sunday marks the end of the great season of Easter. A season 50 days long - one seventh of the year. It is our great Sunday which began on the day of the resurrection and ends today on a Sunday. During this time have we celebrated the resurrection, ascension, and the sending of the Spirit. Now we enter into Ordinary Time where we see these three great themes at play in all creation, working and in through creation, and in and through ordinary people of all cultures and ethnicities, forming God’s just communities.
Pentecost is first and foremost a Jewish festival. Tradition stated that 50 days after the Hebrew slaves were freed from Egypt (remembered at The Passover) the Hebrews, now a free people, arrived at the Mountain of God to receive the Law. Pentecost was a festival commemorating the gift of the Torah. Torah was not seen as the rules to be obeyed to earn God’s blessing, but a describer of what it meant to live in the presence of God freely given.
Pentecost was also a harvest festival of Shavuot or the Festival of Weeks. Leviticus 23: 15-22 describes this festival and what was required. It ends with “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the alien: I am the Lord your God.” 
To live in God’s presence meant having the same passion for the poor as God exhibited in freeing the Hebrew slaves. To live in God’s presence meant to be a people living God’s justice, generosity and mercy.
All of this is at play in Luke’s account of Pentecost in Acts. His telling is filled with drama, symbolism and imagery. Like the Ascension it should shake our world. But it has become too familiar and is now domesticated and safe. Frank L. Couch describes it as a “fear-inducing, adrenalin-pumping, wind-tossed, fire-singed, smoke-filled” experience that “left those outside the room described in the NRSV as “bewildered” (v. 6), “amazed and astonished” (v. 7), and “amazed and perplexed” (v. 12)”[1] How might we describe our experience of this story?
The story of the early church comes out of today’s events. That group of uncertain disciples became certain that all that was hoped for was fulfilled, but not in any way they had anticipated. They became known for their compassion and commitment to the poor, the outcast. They lived out the Torah and shamed the ruling elite.
We are heirs of that story today. We should again feel our world move as we listen to this story. It should lead us to question so many of our presuppositions. As we listen and reflect on the account of the first Pentecost, we are invited to make “connections to some of scripture’s most primal, disorderly, prophetic roots (that) open doors into a liberating, open-ended array of possibilities made possible by the unconstrained Spirit of God.” [2]
And so we begin with all we have learnt from crucifixion, resurrection, ascension;  blown by the Just Spirit of God. Are we ready for the ride?


[1] http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2457
[2] ibid.

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