On May 23rd we celebrated Pentecost, 50 days after Easter, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples as they waited and prayed; Jesus promised that He and His Father would fulfil what had been promised through the prophets, that God himself would come and reside inside anyone who invited Him to come. This meant moving from the idea that God dwelt in a place – in the Temple at Jerusalem – to realising we are all temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20:”Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.”)
That’s why when Jesus takes up residence within us, He starts the process of making us more like Himself from the inside. With Him living in us, it is a reminder that when God created human beings He breathed on them to give life; the word for breath, wind or Spirit is the same in Hebrew – ruach - and in Greek it is the same – Pneuma - from which we get the word to describe our car tyres for they are pneumatic - full of wind, spirit or breath.
When a person dies, it is said they “give up the spirit” – in older language “give up the ghost” – the life, the breath, departs.
Sometimes people are described to be so alive that they are “full of spirit” – energy, life, inspiration, and enthusiasm – this word comes from “possessed by or inspired by God.” Some of the newer converts through the centuries who came to Christ were derogatorily called “enthusiasts” because they were inspired by their faith in Jesus. Nothing wrong being enthusiastic – unless it becomes a bit “over the top” as some are described. Romans 12:11 says: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.” The RSV translates it, “be aglow with the Spirit.” I’ve met people who “glowed” with the divine presence – in the Old Testament Moses, whenever he went into the presence of God to pray and worship would return with a face so aglow that he had to wear a veil (yep, one of the few times mask wearing was needed in the Bible!) because the people were afraid of that glow, which comes from living in the presence of the Holy One of God.
What is it that attracts people to Jesus? Seeing people filled with Jesus and doing the stuff of Jesus – living and doing what Jesus said – truth, love, compassion, care, unruffled, willing to work with the worst as well as the best in society to bring change for the better. How do we get filled with Jesus? Read Acts 2 where the Holy Spirit came to the disciples and began that “glowing” within them.
During the ten days from Ascension Day (13th May) to Pentecost (23rd May) there were prayer times for everyone to join in with to pray for others to encounter the King of Kings, and for our own lives to be set alight for God.
If you are not yet “aglow with the Spirit” why not ask? Because life moves into a different dimension when we walk with God.
We are now in the wedding season with quite a few weddings to take this year – 17 on the books, but by the time you read this we will have already taken two or three. Do pray for them that they may be much blessed by wanting to be married in the presence of God, and as each week goes by, more congregational members will be allowed and singing fully restored in our worship too.
May the living Jesus make His home in your hearts and lives today: if He is not yet resident invite Him in, for He will give you hope, peace and His salvation.