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by Elaine Pierce
"Happy Pentecost!" You don't hear that greeting nearly as often as "Happy Easter!", do you? And yet, Pentecost is an important date in the church calendar. It comes fifty days after Easter, and we celebrate the day that the Holy Spirit filled the church with power and added 3,000 new believers (Acts 2).
In John 14:26, Jesus promises his disciples he will send the Holy Spirit:
"The Counselor , the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."
As we know from reading the rest of the book of John (and the other gospels), the disciples didn't understand that Jesus would soon suffer an agonizing death on the cross. They didn't understand that he would rise again in three days. And yet, Jesus prepares them for this as he tells them that he will send a comforter, a counselor, an advocate. And he gently comforts them with these words:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:26)
We are surrounded by messages that tell us there is no peace. In fact, there is the opposite: senseless shootings of young children. War with no provocation. Hunger. Poverty. Inflation. Where is this peace? Where is God in the midst of a world gone mad?
Where he has always been. Grieving with us. Weeping for those who are crushed with sadness. Longing for wholeness for his creation. Offering us the peace that can only come through him.
The world in Jesus' day was filled with uncertainty, and to be a follower of Jesus was not to be safe from persecution. The disciples feared for their lives and huddled behind locked doors after their leader was crucified. The early church suffered much. God has never promised us pain-free lives. We join hands and hearts with those who suffer, and we offer comfort and aid, knowing that one day we will join the saints above and sing God's praises forever.
You may not hear many "Happy Pentecost" greetings today, but be of good cheer. Jesus has sent us his Holy Spirit, and we rejoice in the certainty that He will come again.
Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. On this Pentecost Sunday, we are grateful that we can celebrate this gift. Send us forth in the certain knowledge that you long to bless us. Direct our paths to do your work. Amen.