Pentecost is more than a time to remember, it’s also a time where the church might allow itself to be open and vulnerable to God’s musings, God’s direction, and God’s call to change. It’s a time when we celebrate the coming of the most uncomfortable part of the Holy that we call God. We are a trinitarian faith, which doesn’t mean that we worship three Gods, but we worship three experiences of the Holy. We mostly focus on Jesus stories, and Jesus as fully human is someone we can relate to and learn from. Jesus is a great teacher and a wonderful roll model. He inspires us and challenges us even today. Jesus the human Rabbi is easy to relate to. The Easter resurrection is a more uncomfortable Jesus, dipping into woo-woo and weird touchy-feely stuff. Is he a ghost? A myth? A story gone wild? Or something infinite that we can’t put into a simple box? And that’s nothing compared to the Spirit!
Our Pentecost readings today focus on the many gifts that we have, the breath that we get from an encounter with the divine ‘woo woo’ that should have us squirming a bit. Whether it is as a rushing wind, tongues of fire or a test to see if Jesus had brushed his teeth that morning, the Spirit is supposed to stir us in new ways. Pentecost is supposed to continue to happen with and among us.
It's like a balloon. They aren’t much fun when they come out of a package, because they don’t have any air in them. And if we blow them up without tying them off to keep the air in them, the balloons can trigger a certain amount of chaos, can’t they? Let go of a balloon full of air and watch out! Some people are afraid of the chaos that can result, and certainly, it can cause some problems. Too often we humans decide that we either want nothing but the chaos, or we don’t want any chaos. And churches can often err on the side of caution, which isn’t much fun, is it? But who wants a flat balloon? It’s not much fun, is it?
What if we add a cone to the balloon, helping it lower the resistance to the air, streamlining the balloon? It will go farther, and we could even aim it. The cone is like God, sometimes known as Good Orderly Direction, which is aiming at the big picture. Then let’s add the arms of Jesus to it, what happens now? It would look like an airplane! Instead of a wibbly, wobbly trajectory, our balloon has a much more stable flight path. It goes places, it has the oomph to make a journey and take a straighter route to where it wants to go. Purpose, stability and energy. All three are needed. And all three can keep things from being a chaotic mess. Spirit without God, God without Jesus, Jesus without Spirit, all can keep us from moving and being the enthusiastic people we were created to be. Pentecost is the time to open ourselves up to new possibilities, new ideas, new adventures. With the wisdom of God, the courageous compassion of Christ, and the enthusiastic energy of the Spirit, we can become people who make a real difference in our world!