Reflection : Acts 2

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Introduction

The Bible has well over 200 references using the root Hebrew and Greek words for wind. It’s a well-known analogy – The breath of God, air in motion, spirit… it’s not stagnant – it’s an analogy about movement, change, transformation…

The wind comes as an invisible, mysterious and powerful force, I wonder if that’s how we see the spirit working in our own lives?

It’s sort of mind boggling isn’t it, the same spirit that had a hand in creating the universe, is available to dwell in us, work in us and through us…

This reflection focuses on the Acts chapter 2 account of the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) and uses a Renaissance painting to help guide our thoughts. Acts 2 is a very sensory account, the sound of a rushing wind, the tongues of fire and you may like to imagine yourself in the upper room as you read.

There are a range of resources included here, feel free to pick and choose whatever is appropriate for your context.

Prayer

Spirit… energy of the dance… 
promise in the water… rush in the wind… 
rhythm in the word… poetry of the faith… 
silence in the horror… patience in the waiting… 
question in the wonder… curve on the horizon… 
brightness in the sun… speed in the light… 
life in the resurrection… 

Come Spirit… 
be it all… 
and bring us into renewal once more…

Reading – Acts Chapter 2

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? In our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.

21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Image

The image used for this reflection is ‘Pentecost’ painted in 1732 by Jean Li Restout

A picture containing building, indoor, old, photo

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Reflection questions

What are your initial thoughts about the image?

Which character best describes how you feel about Pentecost?

How does this image help us to consider how God’s Spirit enables us to embrace difference?

What do the clouds represent for you?

What do you dislike about the image?

What abilities do you seek from the Holy Spirit?

What does this painting say about equality?

Confession

The Spirit comes with the fire of justice and we offer the extinguisher of complacency. The Spirit comes with the rain of love and we offer an umbrella of reserve. The Spirit comes bearing fresh winds of change and we close the windows.   prayer God, who has at this time taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Further Resources

  • Other Pentecost reflections can be found at anewloom.org
  • Songs
  • Be still for the presence of the Lord (David Evans 1986)
  • Consuming Fire (Tim Hughes 2004)
  • Consuming Fire (Third Day 1995)
  • Come thou fount of every blessing (Robert Robinson 18th Century)
  • An interactive ezine on the theme of Pentecost can be found at

https://indd.adobe.com/view/00902f6e-de5f-43df-a8f6-e049a799fa10