Pentecost was yesterday. My favorite Christian holy day. While it’s not the shiniest, or the loudest, or even the most significant (some would say) theologically, it’s still my favorite. Pentecost has great elements: fire, heat, light, freedom, wind, caring, and preaching.
But best of all, Pentecost has the Holy Spirit.
In my early Christian years (the second time around), I used to be very happy with God. And I really liked Jesus. But the Holy Spirit scared the crap out of me. The Holy Spirit seems to indicate to me passion, overflowing, and a lack of control. Uh. For a control freak like me, being out of control doesn’t sound good at all.
I’ll be real clear. I don’t want to be out of control. No speaking in tongues for me!
But through the years, I’ve come to love and celebrate the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the thing that puts church together, bringing planned and unplanned elements to give the people what they need. The Holy Spirit is when you pick up a book that says just the right thing you need to hear right in that moment. The Holy Spirit is the text message from a friend that says, “I’m holding you in the light today,” just when you need to hear it. The Holy Spirit is fire and light and heat and wind, but it’s also breath and gentleness and clarity and truth.
I listened to Krista Tippett’s On Being yesterday, to an interview with Andrew Zolli, a thinker from PopTech. He said that research shows that when traumatic events happen (and let’s admit that Jesus being crucified on a cross was a traumatic event), one-third to two-thirds of people will not be traumatized by the event. What makes the difference? Resilience. And resilience is determined by three things: 1) your social connections, 2) how well you love, and 3) how you use resources. All three things brought up in Acts 2:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
So Pentecost, along with being the coming of the Holy Spirit, being a feast day, being the day that the Torah was given, is also God’s own Resilience Project.