Yesterday was Pentecost. Pentecost is 50 days after Easter. The Bible tells us that, on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they went out boldly to preach Jesus to anyone who would listen. They were able to let go of the fear that kept them locked in an upper room, and speak in languages that everyone could understand. And on that day, more than 3,000 people gave their lives to Jesus.
I love Pentecost. It is a smaller holy day in the Christian year than Easter or Christmas and because of that it doesn’t have all the hype around it. During my years as a pastor I’ve always asked the people of the church to wear red to symbolize the Holy Spirit fire that makes us courageous in sharing our faith. Lots of people wore red yesterday and it brightened the sanctuary on a really gloomy, rainy Sunday.
I preached about the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our worship. And I showed some pictures of times when the Holy Spirit showed up in our worship services – the Holy Spirit shows up as orbs of light in pictures taken during worship. I’ve included a four of the pictures here. I’ve only chosen a few out of the 100+ pictures I have with the orbs. The orbs are not reflections or dust motes that caught the light. They are the Holy Spirit present among us as we worship.
And then I asked people to blow Holy Spirit bubbles of their own and I took some pictures (four of them in the gallery). Some people were really good at blowing the bubbles! Notice all the Holy Spirit orbs in the one picture. The bubbles reminded us to courageously take Jesus with us as we go into the world.
There were also a lot more goodbyes yesterday. One person stopped by before services because he has to work the next three Sundays. Another person is going on vacation. One man is going to visit relatives. One of my beloved children brought me flowers. I’m sure this will happen more in the next two weeks and it gets harder every day as retirement draws closer.
Leaving this church and these people that God has allowed me to love for so long is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m going to need plenty of Holy Spirit courage to move out of this safe place (my upper room). I pray that I will be able to move boldly and courageously forward, learning to speak a new language as I carry Jesus into the world in a different way.