Acts 2: 1-13
The New Testament reading from Acts is the story of the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit, they see as if tongues of fire above their heads, and hear the noise as of a mighty wind and they are commissioned to go out into the world to do God’s work and spread the good news of Jesus. This of course they do and the book of Acts records travels across the world of that time. But first they speak to those gathered in Jerusalem, people from all across the known world, Jews or those exploring the Jewish faith. Despite speaking many languages, they all hear the good news as if spoken in their own language. On this occasion this varied crowd, who have come seeking God, hear a common message spoken to them, in their language and many respond positively, though some scoff.
The Holy Spirit was not confined to the disciples of over 2,000 years ago, he is with us today and many of us can testify to knowing his presence. I have heard many people recounting things that have happened to them or prayers that have been answered, not passed off as a coincidence but having real impact on their lives.
At confirmation the Bishop lays his hands onto the candidate’s head to show the Holy Spirit passing into that person. It feels really special, but it is not limited to confirmation. I have had many of these moments especially when in training for ALM, some quite emotional others that make me smile and then others that are just astounding. These make us closer to God and certainly strengthen our faith.
So today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus said, his Advocate who will be with us always and who lives within us. It is not always easy to see or hear him but faith makes it possible. In the Holy Communion and Confirmation classes I remember to tell the children what I was told, by praying you will establish a unique relationship with God and he with you. So put your trust in him and watch the results of his love and care, not always in the way you think but it will surprise you.
And like the disciples we too are commissioned to share the gospel, whether people respond positively or not. We too have to find the words and the language that will help people make sense of the message.