Pause

The Holy Spirit is ever present.

The Spirit walks on either side of us, supports us from behind, lightens our load underneath, and blazes the journey ahead.

This week, remember the presence of God’s Spirit as we celebrate Pentecost — the birthday of the Church.

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Listen

Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared, “Judeans and everyone living in Jerusalem! Know this! Listen carefully to my words! These people aren’t drunk, as you suspect; after all, it’s only nine o’clock in the morning! Rather, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young will see visions. Your elders will dream dreams. Even upon my servants, men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will cause wonders to occur in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and a cloud of smoke. The sun will be changed into darkness, and the moon will be changed into blood, before the great and spectacular day of the Lord comes. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Acts 2:14-21

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Think

This Pentecost party, this irruption of the Spirit, continues amidst false accusations of drunkenness mostly by those feeling excluded from the party. Out of the confusion steps Peter, who quickly admonishes the crowd for their lack of common sense (it's only 9 o'clock in the morning!) Peter’s mission is to speak and to interpret this phenomenon.

Peter’s quoting of the prophet Joel is his way of saying: What's happening here is real! This is authentic! People will prophesy. They will experience visions and dreams, regardless of race, age, gender, or class, because of God’s Spirit poured upon them (v. 17-18). The power of God’s Spirit has become a gift to congregations, families, and communities around the world.

You might ask yourself: What is the significance of this narrative for you and me? What does it mean for our churches? Will the Pentecost story encourage our faith communities to implement God’s Spirit through our gifts and graces, individually and as a body? What is my response to the gift of the Spirit?

Tom Baynham

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Pray

God of Joel and Peter, continue to instill me with the gifts and graces for my everyday life, for ministry and for mission, through the power and presence of your Spirit. Amen.

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Go

Holy Spirit, living breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.

Give me passion for your purity;
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.

from “Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God” by Getty and Townend, 2005

Tom Baynham

Tom Baynham is a native of Richmond, Virginia, a graduate of the Boston University School of Theology and Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. Tom currently serves as Minister of Music at Ginter Park Baptist Church in Richmond. When he is not singing or directing, Tom enjoys reading political novels and watching baseball and the Dallas Cowboys. Tom is the proud father of two adult children: his son Daniel, a social sports coordinator, and his daughter Lindsey, an ordained Elder in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Walking Toward Morning: Turn Your Eyes

Ken Medema

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