Right before Jesus went back to heaven he told his friends to, “stay in the city and wait for the gift his Father promised!” He knew the time was near; the gift he talked about over and over again, would be arriving soon. He wanted his friends to be alert and ready to receive the sweet surprise!
This Sunday is Pentecost. Are you ready? Are you waiting to see what God has in store for you? Do you enter spaces of worship expecting a gift from God?
If you’re like me, sometimes I get busy with life and forget to wait. I trudge through the day and miss the gift. Other times I wait . . . and watch . . . and pray . . . and I still miss the gift. But there are occasions when the gift shows up unexpectedly—like the wind that blows on it’s own accord—and I’m reminded once again of the beautiful relationship Jesus made possible for us all: “Christ in you, the hope of glory!”
This week, as we wait for Pentecost:
Jesus said, we would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on us and God's power would give us the strength we need to bare witness to God’s love no matter where we go or what we face. When I consider the lukewarm witness of the Church in our troubled world, I sometimes wonder if we believe its true? In her book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard asks a similar question:
Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be alert and ready. I want to wait for the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. I want the Spirit of the living God to draw me out to a place where I can never return the same!
As you wait for Pentecost, remember Dillard’s warning: when you invoke God’s presence you are playing with dynamite!
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Larry Stoess is an author, public speaker, and urban church planter. He loves telling stories about how dreaming with God will empower people to make old and broken things new again. Larry and a band of friends founded the Church of the Promise in Louisville's Portland neighborhood; The Table, a pay-what-you-can community café; and Promise Housing Plus, a non-profit construction company. He has written about their experience of dreaming with God in his new book: Think Red.