by Marjorie George
“Let’s get on the 550 and pray for the city,” said my friend. The 550 VIA bus route circles the city of San Antonio continuously on the inner loop.
“Great idea,” I said, whipping out my iPhone calendar. “Ok, we could gather everyone who is interested and meet on the third. Three pm? And I will start talking to some diocesan committees and see who will sponsor us. You know, this might be news worthy – should I call the Express News?”
My friend, because she is my friend, looked at me with no acknowledgment whatsoever of my babbling. “I was thinking this Sunday,” she said. “You got a bus schedule?”
It wasn’t until later in the day that I realized what had happened. I had witnessed someone responding to the prompting of the Holy Spirit with a simple, “Sure.”
Forget committee meetings, no need for an imprimatur – the Spirit speaks, my friend listens and acts. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth,” Christ had told his disciples (Acts 1:8).
This coming Sunday, when we celebrate again the day of Pentecost, we affirm as a church that we don’t go it alone. “I will be with you always,” Christ had said. “You will be clothed with power from on high,” he had said (Luke 24:49). He was not speaking only of the institutional church – which did not exist at the time – but of us individuals. Listen to the story: “Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability” (Acts 2:3-4). Did you get that? “As the Spirit gave them ability.”
My friend’s ministry, my ministry, and your ministry, were validated at our baptisms: “You are sealed by the Holy Spirit.” By water and the Holy Spirit we are raised to new life, given inquiring and discerning hearts, courage to will and persevere, a spirit to know and love God, and the gifts of joy and wonder in all his works (Book of Common Prayer pg 308).
We are the inheritors of Pentecost. As God’s people, we are empowered to “prophesy, see visions, dream dreams” said the prophet Joel, and the newly-commissioned Peter repeats that – to the crowd assembled in Jerusalem on that ecstatic day and to us (see Acts chapter 2).
So release the red balloons, sing praises up and down the church aisles, and go forth from this Sunday clutching that full portion of the Holy Spirit that is given to each of us. In boldness and with the sure and certain knowledge of your holy calling, get on the bus – or wherever the Spirit’s prompting is leading you. “For the promise is for you, for your children, for all who are far away, and for everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”
Marjorie George is editor of Reflections magazine and ReflectionsOnline. Reach her at email@example.com or leave a comment below.