We live in a world dominated by the voices of the powerful and rich, who use their power and money to influence our media and spread divisive information. This information polarizes people and makes us unable to communicate with one another to work together for the common good. As followers of Jesus, we sometimes feel insignificant and helpless and perhaps even powerless in sharing the good news of a compassionate and just God. At times like these, we can learn from the miraculous Pentecost story, when a small group of powerless Jews becomes so influential that 3,000 people are baptized. (See Acts 2:41.)
In every generation, Christians have used the technologies available to us to share the gospel. The early church leaders wrote down their stories so that future generations could recall the saving stories. When the printing press was invented, Christians used it to print copies of the Bible and other resources that could be distributed and shared with many more. The voiceless began to find their voices in the printing era as well.
Now, with the innovation of digital media, we can learn to use these channels to empower the prophetic voices of those with less power in our society. YouTube, for example, offers all who have access to a computer with a camera the ability to share their voice with millions. Social media allows people to network globally, which bypasses traditional information systems. The Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements are examples of the powerless finding their voice through a powerful digital network that has become a community of millions. When used faithfully, new technologies can allow us to hear and to share the experiences of the powerless, realizing a form of Pentecost.
God, help us to recognize Pentecost moments and use our technologies to network locally and globally to empower and amplify the voices of the powerless. May their dreams, visions, and prophecies be heard by your children. Amen.
Many contemporary Christians wrestle with the theology of the Holy Spirit. Some are perceived as emphasizing the Spirit too much, while others talk about the Spirit only vaguely or even not at all. Both extremes can mislead us. The Spirit is powerful and active, and we understand the role of the Spirit within larger truths about God and God’s activities in the world. God empowers the disciples on Pentecost by the Spirit, and the psalmist emphasizes the role of the Spirit in creation. Paul tells the Corinthians that the Spirit enables us to recognize Jesus as Lord and serve one another. Jesus gives the power of the Spirit to his disciples. May we also seek God’s help in receiving the power of the Spirit to serve and reach those far from God.
Read Acts 2:1-21. What moments from your lifetime might you consider Pentecost moments? How have you seen the Spirit empowering God’s people in these moments or movements?
Read Psalm 104:24-34, 35b. When have you experienced God’s rhythm of withholding and releasing? How can your breath remind you of your place in this rhythm of creation?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13. How does your faith guide you to a tension between sameness and difference that might help you create a diverse unity among your family or faith community?
Read John 20:19-23. How does your relationship with Christ help you break through fear?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.