Come Holy Spirit
There’s a narrative that we can trace throughout the Bible, a story of creation, chaos and re-creation, that repeats until we reach a new heaven and a new earth. And Pentecost is a pivotal moment in this plan, because it’s the moment that the gift of the Spirit enables humanity to play our part in the ultimate re-creation. It’s the first encounter that the early Christians have with the Holy Spirit.
But there’s a thing about Pentecost that is often overlooked, I find.
The thing that’s overlooked about Pentecost is that it isn’t just about that first encounter of the Spirit – it’s what the encounter with the Spirit led people to do.
After their encounter with the Holy Spirit, the early church’s response is to get together, to share all they have, and they – effectively – end poverty.
'All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions and there were no more needy people.' - Acts 4 : 32 - 25
They ended poverty in their community.
What if we were a bit more like the early church? It’s hard to know what that really looks like today. It was undeniably different for them. Their world was smaller for starters. Today we live in a global community – we’re connected to all people across the world, and when we’re instructed to love our neighbours that doesn’t stop at the end of our street; it extends to our neighbours who grow our food, our neighbours who make our clothes and our neighbours who are hungry because our lifestyles are causing climate change to bring drought to their crops.
I don’t know what it looks like to share everything we have and ensure there are no more needy people today, but I’ve got an idea and it sounds a bit strange… I think if we want to make sure that everyone has enough to eat then we need to start eating more.
When Jesus sat down to eat with other people, something special happened. The hungry got fed. The rich sat down with the poor. Those who were ignored by society were included. It’s interesting that if we look through the Bible, so often we see that when people have meals it isn’t just about eating food. In fact, it’s not just interesting, it’s significant. Meals happened in connection with social justice, with caring for the poor and the provision of needs.
Today we’ve lost what the real meaning of eating together is, we don’t do it enough and we don’t do it in the right way.
Maybe we should start having biblical meals with a modern spin; meals that became a space where community happens, where we share with those around us but where we also take campaign actions and pray for our global neighbours.
It’s not about eating more food, but it is about us eating together more often; the way Jesus did.
This Pentecost may you encounter the Holy Spirit, and may that encounter lead you to action, so that we might see God’s kingdom come so there are no more needy people.
If you want some ideas for holding a modern biblical meal, have a look at our Eat Act Pray series.