Several years ago, I first learned about the Enneagram, a personality-typing tool that a friend described as helping her understand herself better. After reading about the Enneagram’s nine personality types, I could not decide which fit me, so I registered for a class. In this class there were nine panels of persons with different personality types. The first panel was made up of persons who identified as Enneagram type one. Panel two was made up of type twos, and so on. The leader asked the people on these panels a common set of questions. Their answers revealed the characteristics of each type.
On the second day of the class, a panel took the stage to answer the questions. To a person, they answered the questions exactly as I would have done. I was so astounded by hearing my words come out of their mouths that I interrupted the leader to say that this was my Enneagram number, and these were my people.
I thought of that experience when trying to imagine how those gathered on the Day of Pentecost felt when they heard the message proclaimed in their native languages, whether they were home folks or visitors, those who were born into the faith or others who had been drawn to it as converts. The gift of hearing through Spirit-enabled translation must have been astonishing. How much more remarkable, however, was the message that announced a new age in which all hearers would be partners in God’s mission of love and justice. Just as God’s reign was proclaimed for the understanding of all, the call to participate was equally inclusive, issued without regard to status or age or gender. Even now, the Spirit speaks in a way that we can uniquely hear and understand, calling each of us to partner in the new thing God is doing in our world.
Thank you, God, for speaking to me in a way I can understand. Amen.
In preparing for Pentecost, we focus again on the work of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2 recounts the famous story in which the disciples are miraculously able to speak in other languages in order to preach to the crowds in Jerusalem. The psalmist states that God creates and renews creation through the Spirit. According to Paul, if we are led by God’s Spirit, the Spirit confirms that we are children of God. In the Gospel of John, Jesus promises to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who will teach us how to love him and to keep his commandments. In some branches of Christianity, fear of excess causes hesitation about the Holy Spirit; however, we must never forget that the Spirit is central to God’s redeeming work.
Read Acts 2:1-21. The miracle of Pentecost is not only in the multitude of languages but also in the act of listening. How can you experience worship in many languages or offer deep listening this Pentecost?
Read Psalm 104:24-34, 35b. How do you witness God’s experience woven through all of creation?
Read Romans 8:14-17. The author reminds us that spirit also means breath. When have you felt led by the breath of God?
Read John 14:8-17, 25-27. How has fear kept you from trusting God?
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.