A reprint from Rev. Jim Ellison:
When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. Acts 2: 1-4
In the daily life of the Church, Pentecost gets little respect. For Christmas we decorate and give presents; for Easter we make baskets and hunt for eggs; but for Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, we do little to mark the occasion. Maybe it’s just a matter of our modern customs; maybe it’s a
matter of our not seeing the relevance. After all, we do not normally see “tongues of fire” alighting on people’s heads and hearing them speak in strange languages. Maybe it’s a matter of not seeing the Pentecost experience in the lives of people we know.
For Sparky, school was all but impossible. He failed every subject in the eighth grade; flunked physics in high school, flunked Latin, algebra and English. He didn’t do much better in sports. Throughout his youth Sparky was awkward socially. He was not actually disliked by the other students; no one cared that much. Sparky never once asked a girl to go out in high school. He was too afraid of being turned down. Sparky was a loser.
He, his classmates …everyone knew it.
The story goes on explaining that Sparky had one talent – he liked to draw, and he liked to make cartoons. He submitted some of his artwork to his high school yearbook, and was turned down. Later he applied for a job at Disney Studios, again submitting some of his artwork, and again was turned down. So, he decided to go it alone – writing his own biography in cartoons. “He described his childhood self – a little boy loser and chronic underachiever.” He named the little boy – Charlie Brown – and he named his cartoon biography – Peanuts.
You can read more of the story and its author, Charles Schultz, at the web page cited above which also declares “There’s a Sparky in every one of us.” The significance here is that the story is a Pentecost story. It is a personal discovery of a God-given power in the midst of despairing times. Jesus told us to expect it, and to wait for it, and not to give up hope.
That is how the Church began. “All of the believers” gathered together to consider their fate. To their surprise, a great noise came from the sky and filled their house and all confusion broke out with everyone speaking in strange sounds. But also, each one felt a new power within themselves and they told their story to others and their numbers grew – 3,000 in that first day.
What are our Pentecost stories?
This coming Sunday, May 31, is Pentecost Sunday. May the Holy Spirit come upon us as it has for others before us and teach us many things throughout the whole season of Pentecost. AMEN!