I am challenged… I am challenged by sitting in front of my computer, wondering why I didn’t turn up Dale enough during a song. I am challenged by the way I ‘over saturated’ that one song so that everyone looked like an angel descending from heaven. I am challenged by not being able to watch Church on Sunday morning without hating every mistake I’ve made. Our current situation has turned everything on its head and has left me feeling tired and, at times, overwhelmed.
In times of change and during trying circumstances, it is almost universal to feel overwhelmed and to be challenged about your beliefs. Strangely, this is healthy! It is what we do with that and how we process it, that will determine whether we are better when we come out the other end. I’m not sure if that is how you are feeling at the moment but I certainly feel like I’m in this place and, interestingly enough, so were the disciples during the time between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension as they looked for direction and a way forward. Fortunately, they listened to Jesus as he made it clear that the Holy Spirit would come upon them with power, and then they waited in Jerusalem just as he told them to.
Pentecost is about the moment in time when the Church was brought to life. The Holy Spirit breathed new life into Jesus’ disciples so that, together, they could carry the word of God to the ends of the world, even to the last place they would have thought to go – Samaria. Why Samaria? Well, the people of Samaria were considered to be hopeless and cast out by God.
Twenty-one years ago, I remember wondering what I was to do for this world. What I could possibly bring? As much as I tried at school, I was constantly told that I was not going to reach the level of education that would allow me to be successful. I was shy. I could not speak up the front – I shook the entire time I did my 8th grade presentation on Michael Jordan. I thought I was a drop in the ocean and really, what did I matter?
Then, 20 years ago I encountered a group of Christians who refused to let me behave as if the person I had come to believe I was, was true. These people were driven by a desire to take the word of God into the world, even to the ends of their earth. They were the body of Christ, and they knew that treating people as if they were totally valuable because they were God breathed and, therefore, had limitless hope, would cause change. And, for me, it did.
As I sit here and reflect on Pentecost and the Holy Spirit – I am reminded of those people who took God’s call on their lives seriously. They listened, prayed and took direction from God and promptings from the Holy Spirit. It is said that, ‘Apart, we are but a drop in the ocean but together we are the ocean’. And it was those drops in my life, not just one person but many people, that flooded who I was with the undeniable truth, that I was not worthless and destined to be mediocre.
And, right now, as a church, we are in a fire of a kind. It is a testing moment. Right now, we have some big decisions to make and as we seek God’s plan for us, we need to listen for the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
I want to encourage every one of us to have a hard look at our ‘drop’ – to pray and listen to what we might need to do, to become a powerful force in God’s kingdom, being salt and light to those in need. Because, as those who live in tropical climates know, when you feel one or two drops, you know not to ignore them because there is something much bigger coming!