ON PENTECOST SUNDAY, my favorite lector (looking terrific in red!) read the story of that extraordinary morning in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus’ disciples and gave them the power to be understood in many languages (Acts 2:1-21). Then, Peter, who’d been famous for saying the wrong thing throughout his time with Jesus, was empowered to say exactly the right thing, eloquently and persuasively. And all this before nine o’clock in the morning! Luke goes on to tell us in Acts 2:41 that 3,000 people who heard Peter’s inspired words were baptized that very day.
Can you imagine? What a day! It must have been too much for the disciples–for any mere human beings–to take in all at once. They’d need some time to process it, talk it over together, and figure out what sort of life the Holy Spirit wanted for them.
Well, 2,000 years later, we’re still doing just that. We’re still processing it, talking it over together, and figuring out what sort of life the Holy Spirit wants for us. That’s the life of the church.
So what sort of life does the Holy Spirit want for us? (I know one woman who told her husband she was pretty sure that the Holy Spirit wanted her to have a Cadillac. I suspect that might not be quite right.)
Living in peace, joy, generosity
As Luke tells it (Acts 2:42-47), the Holy Spirit wants us to live together in peace, joy, and generosity. I love the picture Luke paints of the believers “breaking bread at home and eating their food with glad and generous hearts” (2:46). A footnote says that the word translated as generous here could also be translated as sincere, and that sounds like the Holy Spirit’s work, too.
Do you know someone with a generous heart, a sincere heart? How does it feel to be around someone like that? How do you think it feels to be someone like that? And how can we, both as individuals and collectively, become like that?
The Holy Spirit works with what’s already there. That morning in Jerusalem, the disciples, the crowds, and Peter with his ready tongue were already there, ready to be inspired (that’s what the word means, to be filled with the Spirit)—and the Holy Spirit went to work. What’s already there in your life? Where are you ready to be inspired? How can you act on that inspiration to joy and generosity?
Audrey Novak Riley is director for stewardship for Women of the ELCA. Feature image is provided through Canva.
One way to act on that inspiration to joy and generosity is to give generously to Women of the ELCA in support of our collective mission to mobilize women to act boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ. Here’s how:
—Individuals may give online with a credit card at welca.org/give.
—Individuals, congregational units, and synodical women’s organizations may give by check. Please make out your check to Women of the ELCA and write “Where Needed Most” on the memo line. Then mail it to:
Women of the ELCA
ELCA Gift Processing Center
P.O. Box 1809
Merrifield VA 22116-800