From the Very Rev. Kristina Maulden
We are now at the end of Easter season. This Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost is considered the birthday of the church. The Holy Spirit came and rested on those earliest followers of Jesus and marvelous things happened. But then, whenever and wherever the Spirit comes there is wonder and miracle. Church communities tend to choose a focus on one person of the Trinity. Some churches focus on our Father who art in heaven. God the Creator, the Almighty, the One who judges, may become the ultimate face of divinity for some. Or, other church communities may focus on Jesus, the one who saves, who is friend to us, who heals, forgives and overturns tables. Jesus who died and rose again. And other churches focus on the Holy Spirit. They may be seen as charismatic, speaking in tongues and looking for the supernatural movement of God on the earth.
We Episcopalians, as a whole, tend to fall in the first two groups. We give a nod to the Holy Spirit, but are not really comfortable with the whole idea. Maybe it is because the Holy Spirit goes forth where she will, unpredictable and transformative. There is no way to box in the Holy Spirit. Even the word for Spirit in Hebrew, (rūaḥ), is both a masculine and a feminine noun. The Spirit of God moves across the waters of creation. She was the source of God’s wisdom to many people of God throughout history. When Samuel anoints Saul as king, he tells Saul: “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.” 1 Samuel 10:6. Saul was filled with God’s Spirit and went among the other prophets, prophesying. The thing that catches me: you will be changed.
We have been changed by the coming of the Holy Spirit into our hearts. There is forged a deep connection with the God who loves us. There is power, wisdom and strength found in this infusion of grace. We are being changed by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We might think that once we have received God’s Holy Spirit at baptism we are complete. But that Spirit continues to lead us into truth. That Spirit continues to revive and cause us to be born anew. We will be changed by the coming of the Holy Spirit. When is the Spirit done with us? Not ever. God’s Holy Spirit is a living force helping us to become the people who God desires us to be. This transformation is a good thing, even though sometimes those changes are difficult or painful. The Spirit is who changes us from glory to glory.
This Pentecost, as we celebrate the birthday of the church, think about how the Spirit has changed or challenged you to grow in God’s grace. Maybe have a birthday cake and light a candle in honor of this person of the Trinity. And may the power, wisdom and hope of God’s Spirit be yours today and always.