Pentecost: God's Breath


“When the Day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind.” Acts 2:1-2.

“..he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20: 22

Pentecost banner and dove St. Luke's Episcopal Church North Little Rock

Pentecost banner and dove St. Luke's Episcopal Church North Little Rock

Barbara Brown Taylor describes two versions of Pentecost, the gentle breeze in John as Jesus breathes into the few disciples  fearfully gathered the night of his resurrection and the violent wind Pentecost described in Acts where the Holy Spirit goes all over the place with tongues of fire to over at least 100 people.  The disciples with the gentle wind Pentecost are commissioned to take the Spirit out into the world. The ministry of the violent wind disciples is to seek and fan the Spirit already present in the world.  Taylor  challenges us  that disciples in both Pentecost stories, those of a gentle breeze or the violent wind congregations are commissioned  to find that Holy Spirit within them and others and take it out of their churches into the world.

The same is true of the Spirit, the Christ, within us. We are called to connect to that Spirit within us and then go out and connect to the Christ in others. If we don’t we are like the disciples in John locked up in a dark room for fear of losing what we have. Only when we connect our Spirit to the Christ in others do we know that peace, joy, love that we are seeking. Our God also becomes larger as we become aware of the magnitude of God’s creation and love.

Happy Pentecost.

Barbara Brown Taylor, “God’s Breath,” Journal for Preachers, Pentecost 2003, pp. 37-40.

Joanna Seibert