On the day of Pentecost, all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. — Acts 2:1-2
In my prep for Pentecost Sunday this year, I came across this thought expressed in a commentary: the Spirit of God comes only when we are unified. This suggests the Holy Spirit is prepared for, invited, welcomed, and then received not by some but all. We have to be in the right space in order for the Spirit to be experienced.
Hello! As a worship planner, this sounds exciting to me. Calling upon the presence of God to be with us is what worship is, right?
I will unpack this theological nugget further because I experience the opposite. I experience the Holy Spirit uniting us, not us being united and then the presence is upon us. Yes, the people in Acts 2 do gather, and yes, the Holy Spirit rushes upon them. I’m not disputing Sunday’s text. I do, however, see the Holy Spirit as the unifier, and the One that makes us well, us. What brings us together is not anything we do. This is all—and always—on the Spirit.
Recently, I attended an ecumenical gathering. Distinct Christian speakers were present. Some were liberal. Most were not. No wonder non-Christians look at this faith and run from its divisiveness because here’s a truth: nothing we alone were doing would have united us. The Holy Spirit, however, did bring us together.
See what seems polarizing as a positive. Large and small differences pop up whenever any large or small group meets. This actually should happen because when the Holy Spirit unites, we experience God in those around us. I suggest our three-in-one God is the common denominator, the unifier. When we learn of God and from God, we grow together not apart.
Again, I’m not challenging or questioning the commentary I found. At Pentecost, the people were present and then the Spirit presides. As for us being unified before this happens today? More time with the Spirit alone and with others is not just welcome and embraced, it’s needed.
PRAYER: Holy Spirit, do what you do. Educate and excite us—rejuvenate and rally us—as Your people united. Amen.