The Giver of Life
“I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” – Acts 2:17
The church marks the Day of Pentecost as the birthday of the church. Some congregations mark the day with a birthday cake, something the children take to readily.
Still, if the presence and power of the Holy Spirit at that first Pentecost marks the beginning of the church, the Spirit’s work was not finished on that day, since it is the Spirit who creates the church in every new generation
For example, it is the Spirit that makes our meal of bread and cup more than a remembrance of a crucified Jesus, but a celebration of the living Christ still present among us. It is the Spirit who makes Jesus our contemporary.
Just as at that first Pentecost, when foreigners without a common language could all understand each other, it is the Spirit that gathers the church out of all sorts and conditions of people.
The church early on recognized that the Spirit that created the church on Pentecost was the same creative life-giving Spirit that hovered over the waters of chaos at the creation.
God’s Spirit was there at the beginning and has never ceased God’s work of enlivening and inspiring. This same Spirit “spoke through the prophets.” And still speaks through men and women today.
So let us celebrate the birthday of the church on Pentecost, but let us also discern where God’s Spirit is moving today, both in and outside the church, giving life, creating what is new, renewing what is old, and restoring what is outworn. Let us never stop praying the ancient prayer of the church: “Come, Holy Spirit, Come!”
O God, keep sending your Holy Spirit among us, reviving us again and again!
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A writer and author, his most recent publications are Romans, Parts 1 and 2 (with Michael S. Bennett), new titles in the “Listen Up!” Bible Study Series. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.