Pentecost Sunday has past. Often Pentecost has been called “the Birthday of the Church” and celebrated as such in our mainline denomination churches. And I’ve often said that the mainline churches treat the Holy Spirit as the “red-headed step-child of the Triune God”. We tend to lump any and all “manifestations” of the Spirit as non-existent any more. Some theologians of the past have declared that all signs and wonders have ceased with the death of the last of the apostles, and so the work of the Spirit is to guide us in our understanding of Holy Scripture and acceptance of the gospel… and nothing else.
The shame of this is that we neglect the power of the Spirit promised to us by Jesus, and therefore limit the church. We invoke the Spirit’s name often, and even say He is the one responsible for our own pet projects within the church (“the Spirit is moving us to do this thing I want to do”). But we fail to listen for the Spirit.
Recently I read an email calling a group of people to “continue to listen for the Spirit’s guidance in following God’s will about…” What a great way to put this. In school we were taught basic listening skills – skills we often fail to hone. We live in a very busy and noisy world. There is a constant din around us, whether traffic, construction, music and people. Just walk anywhere and you will hear things. But it takes great care to discern the noises. If you walk through a busy mall, you need to concentrate to hear your spouse above all the noise. If you are sitting in a crowded restaurant or in a place with a TV blaring, you must focus on the person speaking to hear them. It is the same with the Holy Spirit. We need to focus and concentrate on listening for God. We need to hone our listening skills and add God’s voice to the other voices we can hear above the din
And when we do this, when we actually listen for the Holy Spirit, we will be amazed at what He says to us.