If you have been watching the news at all in the past month, you might be feeling some heaviness at the state of the world. Between an uptick in pandemic numbers and multiple mass shootings, you might feel worn down, sad, afraid, angry, or any other combination of emotions. It can be easy to wonder, “Where is God in all of this?” I have found myself asking that question, too.
This month we celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. On Pentecost the Holy Spirit descends upon the early church and brings with it gifts of insight, unity, and diversity. Pentecost happens after the Ascension at the end of the season of Easter. After the resurrection, Jesus remained on earth with his disciples for a time until he ascended into Heaven. Multiple times during his time on earth, both before and after the resurrection, Jesus promises us that he will be with us and that he is sending someone to comfort us and advocate for us.
The disciples may have felt abandoned, unsure, and afraid after Jesus left earth in his bodily form. But on Pentecost they experienced firsthand that God had not forgotten them, that Jesus was always with them - just in another form.
When Jesus was on earth as a human being, he was bound by the laws of time and space. His ministry happened in 1st century Palestine, occupied by the Roman Empire. On Pentecost, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit, who is not bound by things like space and time. Jesus is with us now in a new way, in the Holy Spirit, who is everywhere at once. The Holy Spirit is alive in the church, alive across people of all races, nations, genders, sexual orientations, ages, and abilities. The Holy Spirit is universally present and also as close to us as our own hearts. The Holy Spirit lives inside us, the Church, and lives inside you as a baptized follower of Christ.
This month we can take comfort in knowing that God has not left us alone in the midst of this painful, messy world. God has sent a Comforter to be with us, to guide us and empower us to do the work God has called us to do - to partner alongside God to bring forth the Reign of God in all of its fullness.
I am praying for all of you, that you would feel God’s love surround you and that the presence of the Holy Spirit would be known in your life and witness.