The Eve of Pentecost
Blessed are those who know their need of God, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:1-10
What do you do two months after the Resurrection, when the Second Coming has yet to come? How do you keep the faith, forty-nine days since you last saw the Risen Christ?
Such questions surely bedeviled Jesus’ followers in the weeks following the first Easter. Their initial enthusiasm must have begun to fade by then. For all the talk of new life and resurrection, Rome was still Rome. The Empire still had the power of life and death, or at least death, over the first Christians. By Day 49, Thomas probably wasn’t the only one with doubts.
We who know the story know that the very next day—Pentecost—God’s Spirit rained down on all of them, filled each one with power, renewed their vision, and restored their dreams. Day 50 would be a mighty day indeed.
We know that, but they didn’t. The first Christians had to trust God with no clue as to what God had in store for them. How did they do it?
Perhaps they kept sharing the handful of encounters with the Risen Christ some had in the beginning. Perhaps they also kept sharing his teachings —like the scripture passage for this Pentecost Eve. The Beatitudes’ promise that God would be with them both in glory and in the hard, dry times—when they mourned or thirsted or tried to work for peace. Perhaps even before the Spirit came, they remembered they were blessed. Even in their need, they would know the realm of God.
Perhaps we can remember that, too, this Pentecost Eve.
Give us the courage, O Lord, to share our need for with you and in that need, to know your Pentecost power. Amen.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Part 1 and Mark Part 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.