Pentecost, the consummation of Eastertide, has come. The birth of the church, the explosion of tongues, the Spirit poured out: our joy and gratitude are due to all of these.
. . . The miracle of tongues is a mystery of unity in diversity of which we can barely glimpse the meaning. And the Holy Spirit poured out on all flesh—what on earth does that mean? We understand the relationship. . . between the First and Second Person of the Holy Trinity parallels the relatedness of human families. But how can we know this Spirit that proceeds from the Father and the Son? – Paul G. Bieber
Pentecost happens every time when people gather and experience God. Every time. . . people are filled with the Holy Spirit. . . things happen that cannot be explained. . . people experience the power of prayer. . . people read Scripture together. . . people gather for worship. . . your faith tells you to act. Every time you experience you are not alone, but you are connected to a family to whom you are not related by earthly blood.
. . . But from time to time, especially when we feel empty inside, we can ask it for to happen again. We can sing together: “Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. . .” And wait for the unexpected to happen—now and to you. – Sigrid Rother
The lessons for Pentecost vividly describe how the faithful are empowered with the Spirit for the building-up and care of the creation. . . It is best to read the story in Acts 2 as high drama, motivated by Luke's theological vision. – Jeffery Galbraith
Understanding the Trinity is tricky. It is also necessary in order that no one “person” of the Trinity be give more weight than the others. In some circles, it is easiest to imagine the Creator because how else do we think we came into being. The Spirit may also seem safe because many traditions and “non-religious” people find comfort in “spiritual” experiences. Jesus, of course, is the stumbling block, but it is the Spirit who empowers us to life in the body of Christ.
We continue to ponder the identity of the Holy Spirit.
When we pray that this Spirit be sent upon bread and wine laid upon the table of the Lord, we pray that the one loaf and the cup of blessing be empowered by that same Spirit to be the body and blood of Christ, so that we may ourselves prove to be the body of Christ, blessing the cup in which our forgiveness is covenanted. And then going forth to be a blessing, sharing all our varieties of gifts in the same Spirit for the common good, forgiving others as we have been forgiven.
. . . This creator Spirit breathes life into the husks of our lives. And as suddenly as on that first Christian Pentecost, what had seemed burned out glows again with new ardor.
. . . The Holy Spirit is the way to a personal relationship with the Persons of the Triune God. . . characterized by forgiveness, by understanding, by unity that does not quench diversity. – Paul G. Bieber
1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
In verses 4–6 Paul uses a series of parallels to heighten his key theme: whether spiritual gifts, service, or activities, all of these are from God. Not one of these gifts is to be set above the other in importance; service and activities are placed on a par with the traditional gifts of the Spirit. . . [Finally,] Paul introduces a new image of the body, to suggest that in the community differences disappear. – Jeffery Galbraith
Paul Bieber is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church, San Diego, California.
Jeffrey Galbraith is pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and a professor of business administration at Greenfield Community College.
Sigrid Rother is the associate pastor of Westerville Community Church, United Church of Christ, Westerville, Ohio.
Homily Service 41, no. 3 (2008): 4-14.