In the beginning of all things, the breath of God brooded over the waters of chaos.
When God spoke being into existence it was the breath of God, the Spirit of the Divine who gave birth to all things.
Our ancestors just called her Wisdom, she sold her wares in the marketplace for nothing, and offered her food and drink to anyone who came seeking.
While we papered over the One who is beyond all names with titles like King, and Lord, and Father neat safe things we could understand, Shekinah, Ruach was still blowing free and wild and unconstrained.
Pentecost celebrates the coming of One so untameable that our ancestors called her Ghost. Or Spirit. Or Wisdom. Or Breath. Nothing solid enough for a name, nothing solid enough for the kind of title a human might ever share. We might call this One Inspiration, Unification, The Diversity of God, One who Reveals, One who Unites. This is God who is fire, and wind, and change.
`In these days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your children shall prophesy, but will you listen?
and your young people shall see visions, but will you raise your eyes?
and your old ones shall dream dreams, but will you dare?
On even the lowly,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.’ (Translation my own)
In Jesus of Nazareth our ancestors experienced God in their midst. Like their own ancestors who told stories of walking with God in the garden, who dreamed about once again experiencing God so close they could touch God. And then that person, that beloved friend, was gone. And the days yawned wide, and frightening, and alone.
Into that moment, into that longing came God who cannot be contained. Came God like a burning fire, God like a hurricane.
Y’all. We are that little community gathered in an upper room. Filled with all our own fears, and worries. Filled with our own longings for God, for certainty. We too have our own baggage, things we wish were different, things we wish we could go back to. We have our own worries about the future. Like Peter, and Mary, and the rest we have our moments when we wish God would just show up and fix everything.
And God comes.
Not as we expect, not orderly and well mannered.
God comes in a hurricane of wind, in a maelstrom of fire that burns up what has been and makes way for what is new.
God comes in new ideas, and ways of being we cannot even begin to imagine.
The day before Pentecost a group of women, and fisherman, and tax collectors sat together grumbling and scheming.
After Pentecost the Church began a long unfurling that hasn’t finished yet. Every step, every day God asked God’s church to step out again into the uncomfortable and the new. Every day the Spirit blew away the old, burned up the dead, made room for new seeds to grow.
Everytime the Spirit of God has blown into my life she has demolished one more poorly built shack of belief, or habit, or comfort. She has scoured more ground clean for newness and she has planted the most unexpected seeds. Every time. And I believe that the Spirit is blowing into our midst as well. The Spirit of God has taken one look at our changing neighborhood and has begun to blow dreams and visions into our midst.
The question isn’t: is God moving. The question has always been: will we go with?
Will we dream boldly?
Will we listen to the voices of prophets who challenge us?
Will we step out of our upper room, on fire with the passion of God? Will we go out into the world and tell our story so others can hear and see the good news in their midst?
Because that is Pentecost.