Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 19th May 2024: Pentecost 2024

Holy Spirit Pentecost Church Acts 2 Fire Wind

Reading : Verses from Acts, Chapter 2


When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there 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? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—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?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

“In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Pentecost ("Whitsun") is a mystery, and we who live in a pragmatic society and who are overwhelmed with technological reality that often turns out to be a scam, can struggle to understand a mystery. But the events that Luke describes in the 'The Acts of the Apostles' are described in great detail. The city of Jerusalem is filled with thousands of Jews from all around the world to celebrate the 'Feast of Weeks' (known as Shavuot), one of three feasts when all adult males were required to be present in the city to celebrate the giving of the Law at Sinai (Exodus 19-20.21). God intended this to bring His people together and to guide them, but the people have signally failed to live up to it. Now God gives His Spirit to His people to guide and help them to follow His will as seen through Jesus Christ.

Three things happen: First, there is a huge sound! It comes like a violent wind, or we might say today like an express train. It's overwhelming and would have been heard in the house and in the street. Second, tongues like flames appear that rest on each of them. Third, the Spirit gives these ordinary men from Galilee the ability to speak other languages that the visitors could understand. If we have not believed in the the miracles of Jesus, surely we must be captivated by the evidence of the Spirit's power at work, as God gives His gifts to the disciples. At this stage the power of God has not spread to the gentiles, but within a few chapters Luke begins to show how the Spirit starts to work among them, as the apostles spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

Today, the Holy Spirit is still at work giving His gifts to Christians to proclaim the good news that Christ came to offer salvation to all who believe in Him (see 1 Corinthians 12.4-11). Because of this the Church slowly changes as it responds to the Spirit's leading, for Pentecost is not a one-off event, but a daily or weekly event as the community learns to be faithful to the Holy Spirit.


Holy Spirit, Power of God,
we pray today for ourselves
and for Christians all over the world.
We ask Your blessing upon the Church -
that it may be true to Your word,
and faithful to Your prompting.
Re-invigorate us as individuals
to respond to Your call
and to find our place in Your plan
to be witnesses of Your power.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to read this article by Wes McAdams:

Or play these hymns:

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