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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There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?” Others jeered at them, saying, “They’re full of new wine!”

Acts 2:5-13

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People speaking in different languages, yet able to understand each other. Devout Jewish leaders upset because they feel excluded from this party. Those standing by watch in bewilderment and shock over the entrance of the Spirit in their community and wonder what effect it will have for them.

The focus in these verses is spiritual transformation and the response of the observers. For some, the response is the fear of change or fear of loss of power and influence. For the disciples, it is the fear of stepping out in faith.

You and I and our faith communities face the same fears in our spiritual pilgrimage. We fear change, whether it’s a change in our families — for example, through a divorce or a new job; or change in our churches — like transitioning to a new location of worship; or change in our society — calling us to share the Gospel with a divided and fractured world. Regardless, it is God’s Spirit through God’s power that enables us to face fear and transitions for ourselves and our communities of faith.

Tom Baynham

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God, be ever present through the power of your Spirit as I seek to face change and transition without fear. Amen.

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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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