THEME: What does Pentecost – the coming of the Spirit mean to you, to us as a community, the Church, the world?
Acts: the power given to the Church, responsibility for the Church to come together – unity – that they may be one!!
The Spirit is what Jesus gives us! Friendship, companionship with us as a means of continuing that relationship, that ministry.
I am struck by the sense that many of us have not experienced sustained peace since 2020. I think that collectively as a society the multiple pandemics of Covid-19, the war between Russia and Ukraine, youth violence, rising gun violence, and financial pressures of rising costs have left many of us holding our collective breath waiting for the next tragedy to occur.
Many of us desire a double portion of peace so that we can breathe again. In today’s passage, Jesus does that for the disciples, us. Accordingly, in the following reflection, I believe a double portion of peace is necessary because it
1. frees the disciples from fear
2. stresses the importance of Jesus’ breath in our lives, and
3. ushers in the Spirit to an empowered community.
John 20:19-23 begins with the disciples in a locked room.
Pondering what it means to hide away in fear, the beautiful part of this passage is that the greeting (peace to you all) frames the idea of Jesus showing his hands and side while the disciples see and rejoice.
The text beautifully shows that in order to move away from fear, the community must constantly expect Jesus to show himself beyond any fears that lurk within the mind of the community. Thereafter, the community can come back to life after receiving the breath of Jesus.
Finally, with breath that moves the community from stifled breathing to receiving the Holy Spirit, the Spirit then empowers the forgiveness and release of sin.
Forgiveness of sins: In John’s Gospel it calls the community to come out of their locked room, accept into their community all of those who proclaim belief in Jesus, and release those who would continue to ostracize them – the Jewish leaders.
Forgiveness of sin is not about the act of penance, in relation to individual deeds. Rather, forgiveness of sins, is the community’s Spirit empowered mission to continue Jesus’ work of making God known in the world, and through that work, to bring the world to judgement and decision through its response to Jesus.
How are we being the presence of Jesus and the Spirit in the world and where is it that we are preventing that? Blocking the opportunity to be in the presence of Jesus and in relationship with God?
It appears to me that the greatest sin of contemporary Jesus followers is the disbelief that we can leave our locked rooms and tackle pressing issues in our communities. We can tackle the sanctification and glorification of guns in our present society. We can tackle the sanctification of White Christian nationalism. We can tackle police reform.
Jesus has given us a double portion of peace to breathe again. Let us be Jesus followers that transform society instead of being fearful disciples who are holding our collective breath.
The coming of the Spirit, the giving of the Spirit is the promise of PEACE.
Jesus’ promise of peace back in John 14.27
– It is that promise of peace, the fulfilment of the peace among you and be with you
– So the Spirit is the presence and the promise of peace
The presence of the Spirit and the giving of the Spirit is cause for JOY.
– Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord
– Jesus promised this JOY back in Chapter 16.20-23 You will have JOY. JOY will come again.
– The Spirit will remind you of this joy
– The Spirit will bring you this joy once again
The present of the Spirit and the giving of the Spirit means being SENT.
– Chapter 17, the high priestly prayer Jesus talks about this
– As you have sent me into the world, so have I sent them into the world.
– As the Father has sent me also I send you
– Sending in the Gospel of John, does not happen until that Spirit is present.
– Sending out into the world is what is going to be the fulfillment of John 3.16
May the Spirit of Pentecost disrupt, challenge and empower us as we worship, serve, love and grow.