“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Monday, 24 May 2021
This past Sunday, we celebrated Pentecost – commemorating how the disciples of the risen and ascended Christ received the Holy Spirit and went out boldly to preach. In short, we might call it the ‘birthday’ of the Church. So this week, I will present some musings on the Holy Spirit, the Church and what everyone – even dare I say non-Christians – might learn from this.
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? The experience of ‘wind’ and ‘fire’ we read of can, I think, be read either literally – this is what they actually experienced – or metaphorically: they all underwent some dramatic conversion from passive enjoyment and reflection on the Risen Christ to a new sense of missionary purpose. Or both. The point is that the Holy Spirit moved them to action.
And the rest is, one might say, church history!
Many Christians across our many traditions have had experiences just like those disciples. Often really dramatic stuff. I must admit that I have not. My experience has been of moments of clarity, of connection, often despite decidedly odd (even adverse) circumstances. A sense of purpose, a sense that I was not some odd little thinking hominid muddling my way through life. In this respect, the notion of being ‘filled by spirit’ (and not the liquid variety!) is a common experience of many people, including folk of other or no faith. A moment of clarity, a sense of renewed purpose. I call that being filled with holy spirit.
And when we act on it, the rest is history. My history. Our history. Sacred history.
When have you had moments of such insight, insight that led you to action? Moments of the Spirit?