(Adults, almost always, I focus exclusively on the Gospel reading; however, for the feast of Pentecost, I think it is important for the children to hear the account of the coming of the Holy Spirit as it is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. For your own reference, the Gospel reading for Pentecost this year is John 14.15-16, 23b-26.)
This Sunday is a new feast. We celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. We call this feast Pentecost, and the colour of the feast is red.
Last Sunday, we heard about Jesus returning to God in heaven. He blesses his friends, returns to God, and keeps on blessing. The disciples bless him in return. This Sunday we find out what happens next.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
The disciples and Mary are together in Jerusalem. They are the only ones who know that Jesus is Risen. They are the only ones who know that death is not the end of life. They wait in the Upper Room, the place where they had celebrated that Last Supper with Jesus, where he said those words that had never been spoken before. They are together, but we wonder if they feel alone without Jesus.
And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
Together, they can hear something and see something.
Together, they hear a sound like wind. It is not wind, but it sounds like wind. It is a sound just for them.
Together, they see a sight like fire. It is not fire, but it looks like fire. A tongue of fire. It is a sight just for them.
A sound and a sight! But why? What is happening?
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
Something important is happening to them. They are filled with the Holy Spirit. We wonder what that feels like...
When the disciples and Mary are filled with the Holy Spirit, what do they do? They,
speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Once, they could only speak one language; now, they can speak more! Who is this Holy Spirit?
The people in Jerusalem wonder about this, too:
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered
Which sound makes them gather? It is the sound of the disciples and Mary speaking in many languages. The sound of wind and the sight of fire is just for the disciples and Mary, but this sound—the sound of thirteen people speaking in many languages—this sound makes a crowd gather.
I wonder what they are saying? The crowd of people tells us,
"in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”
God's deeds of power! Of course! What do the disciples and Mary know?
Jesus is Risen! Death is not the end!
Jesus' Holy Spirit is with us!
We are not alone!
How they have changed!
First, they were alone, a little group of people inside of their Upper Room.
Now, they are together with a LARGE crowd of people.
First, they could speak one language.
Now, they can speak MANY languages.
First, they were the only ones to know that Jesus is Risen.
Now, the WHOLE crowd knows!
Little to LARGE. One to MANY.
The kingdom of God grows! It will be WHOLE!
Who is doing this?
The Holy Spirit!
They can't see the Holy Spirit, and neither can we.
But they receive the Holy Spirit, and so do we.
They know Jesus is Risen.
They know they are never alone.
With the Holy Spirit, they are together with Jesus.
And so are we.