When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven their came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, 'Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?...In our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power.' All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, 'What does this mean?'
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
The Holy Spirit gets rather a poor press. We read and hear, about God, and about Jesus but not so much about the Holy Spirit. However the Holy Spirit is the power-arm of God, and is God. We might like to think of the Spirit in human terms. Every day of our life we carry out actions, from the moment we get up to the moment we go to bed. We get dressed, cook, look after others, drive a car, hold down a job, be creative, and a million other things. To do this we use our eyes, our ears, our hands, feet, and voice. Even if we are handicapped in some way, we still manage to do many things.
I have memories of poor souls who had to live in iron-lungs after catching polio and who could only exist in a machine that kept them alive. Even then they could use a mirror to see around them, read a book, and speak to visitors and nurses.
The point is that we use our body to do a myriad of things each and every day. In a similar way the Holy Spirit is God's active power in our world. It was the Holy Spirit that took a few frightened men and women in our reading today, and created a vibrant community that would build a church to spread across the world. It is the Holy Spirit that is God in our world today, and it is He (yes 'He') who acts when we pray!
and Power of God,
come to us today
and enable us to
grow as Christians,
and to be the kind of people
You would have us be.