May 15, 2016
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. . . . You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you” (John 14:16, 17b).
Pentecost Sunday is usually filled with pageantry. Flaming red paraments, rousing hymns, and dramatic readings fill our churches. In some congregations, young people confirm their faith on this day. We preachers reflect on the power of the Holy Spirit within the wind and the fire. We look backward with longing, praying for a portion of that Pentecostal power to rekindle our faith.
I hope, on this Pentecost Sunday, that we not commemorate the day looking backward (to the ancient upper room) or looking upward (for a heavenly display of power). Rather, I hope, on this Pentecost Sunday, that we look inward, to the sacred place in which the Holy Spirit resides.
Jesus promised his disciples that they would never be alone. The Holy Spirit would be with them forever, taking up residence within them. “Forever” spans an infinite number of lifetimes. The promise extends to us and to all who walk with Jesus. The promise of Pentecost is the absolute assurance that we are never alone.
The Holy Spirit brings light when darkness descends, comfort when sorrow wraps itself around us, guidance when we’ve lost our way, strength when we are weak.
While we celebrate a wondrous miracle that gave rise to the Christian church, let us always remember that each day we are witnessing another miracle—the love and grace of Jesus within us. We are never alone!
Dawn Volpe, pastor, Ephraim Moravian Church, Ephraim, Wisconsin