2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
God comes to us right where we are…in ways that we can understand…just as in today’s reading, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples filling them with faith, and enabling them to speak in tongues so that the whole crowd could hear and understand the good news of God’s love!!
Today, as we are beginning the season of Pentecost, we are celebrating the birth of the church, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and upon each of us…surrounding us with God’s grace and love, given as a free gift through the death and resurrection of Christ. Christ who came to save us from sin and death, and to begin to heal the broken relationship between God and humanity!
With the ascension of Christ, and the coming of the Holy Spirit God calls us to be his own, and we are made to be a part of God’s family…adopted as well-loved children of God!
It has been said that God is so immense, so incomprehensible to us, that there is no way we can even come close to understanding God on our own; this is why God comes to us in ways that we can comprehend, like as a simple carpenter and itinerant preacher who would die in weakness on a criminal’s cross.
Sometimes the big picture is just too big for us…and we need to keep it simple, so that we can begin to understand…
For me, the concept of being adopted by God works, as I am an adoptee myself…
I became part of a family that was not mine when I was born, a ‘stranger’ in the midst of a family of biological children. I could have been made to feel like an outsider my whole life, like I did not belong, as I did not look at all like the rest of my family…yet I was adopted in the fullest sense of the word!
My family came to me, with love and acceptance and made me one of their own, bound together by love, compassion, and faith! I was not just treated as part of the family…I WAS part of the family!
Families can come in many forms…such as single parent families, although it may only be a family of two, we are still a family, we still love each other and belong to each other, just like any other family (even the ones that don’t function that well).
This too is a sign of God’s grace and love for us all…that we too are adopted into God’s family so completely that we become an integral part of the family, that we are truly made and accepted as God’s children.
The good news is that God does love us, just as we love our children, and just as we want only the best for our children, it is never God’s Will that we struggle…though we still do at times, Just as despite our best efforts our children will still know pain in their lives, even pain so great that it can break our hearts.
Just as our love stays with our children…so does God’s love stay with us…even if we too occasionally break God’s heart.
Today as we are beginning the season of Pentecost, a time when we celebrate the birth of the church, who is called to be the Body of Christ in the world, it is good for us to remember that God’s love and grace comes to us in ways that we can understand…such as through the scriptures, through preaching, teaching and worship; God’s love also comes to us through the people around us, like a caring family member, a good friend, a professional or our own children.
These are the people can listen to us complain, offer us advice, give us support, show us compassion, give us hope at times when hope seems out of our reach, and who can rejoice with us when we have reasons to celebrate…and if we can step back from our busy lives, and frustrations for a moment, we can see how God’s love is alive and active in our lives…through the Holy Spirit, and once we see this, it can become clear that there are far more reasons for celebration than for tears, as we raise our children as single parents.
And these are the people with whom we can share our faith, as we allow the love of God to shine through our lives, just as the disciples shared the good news with all who could hear them on that long ago morning of Pentecost!!
God’s love comes to us in ways that we can understand…reminding us all that while life may not always be perfect, it is good, as in Christ we are all part of God’s family!!
Let us Pray:
Dear God, thank you for giving us the gift of your love and grace; and for coming to us in ways that we can understand you…like through Jesus, who lived as one of us, died in weakness, but rose as a witness to your power and grace. Help us to share this gift with others, not just our children and those close to us, but also with strangers, and all those who need your hope in their lives…as reminder that we are all God’s children, all bound together in your grace, and living in the light of the risen Christ.