In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young will see visions. Your elders will dream dreams. — Acts 2:17 (CEB)On the Day of Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples and the gathered crowd witnessed one of the most dramatic signs in scripture. They heard the sound of a violent wind and saw tongues of flame resting on each person. They all began to speak, and though the people were from many cultures and nations, they each heard the others speaking in their native language. The Spirit moved among them, unifying strangers and revealing God’s power.
The Christian life is rarely so dramatic. In my experience, living a life of faith often means praying when I don’t have adequate words, serving others with acts of compassion that seem too small to make a real difference, and struggling to understand the perspective and convictions of others while remaining true to my own. Though I know and trust that God is working in the world and through my life, I sometimes crave the certainty that the dramatic events described in Acts 2 display.
The meditations in this issue of The Upper Room remind me that faithfulness does not have to be marked by flashy signs. Instead, our writers tell of ordinary practices that invite them into deeper relationship with God. Their stories remind us of the friends and family members who have shared their faith and shaped our lives, of the gift of community during difficult times, of the strength found in prayer and scripture. These stories, like the story of Pentecost, assure us that we are not alone. When we pay close attention to the world around us, we can sense the Spirit working in our midst — connecting us to God and to people of faith around the world. As we celebrate Pentecost, I hope you will join me in looking for all the ways the Spirit is moving in your life and in your community.
“I believe with all my heart that vulnerability and authenticity are the only way to find wholeness in Jesus Christ. … I believe in the holistic, healing love and salvation in Jesus Christ, who walks with us in the valleys and brings beauty from ash heaps again and again and again. I am here to tell you that I have been on the mountaintops and in the valleys, and I have discovered that we need a reset in our souls. We need to share stories so that others will too. When we’re free to be real, that’s when the real joy comes.” Read more.