Thursday, May 28, 2020

Reflections for Youth - Holy Spirit

I am sure for many of us, this time during the Covid-19 Pandemic has given us a lot of "downtime."  Canceled plans and staying at home has us all restless. Many of you have talked about feeling anxious and bored all at the same time. Me too! When I feel this way I tend to over-function, make lists, and try to fill my time with projects and things to fill up the emptiness. I want to do al the things! 

But there are some days I don't feel like doing anything at all.  Can you relate?

I've been working on trying to embrace those times when I am feeling unmotivated and let myself just be that way.  I've been working on trying to slow down my mind and body to leave some space for this thing we call the Holy Spirit. I am thinking this week about how I can better listen and watch for the Holy Spirit that is at work in the world around me.

We are celebrating Pentecost this week which is the go-to story from the New Testament when it comes to the Holy Spirit.  The book of Acts tells us about how, after Jesus is no longer on earth, the disciples are gathered and hiding out  (kind of like we are now) and wondering what to do and what will happen next. 

You can read the story of Pentecost here: Acts 2: 1-13.  

Pentecost is the Greek name for Shavuot, the spring harvest festival of the Israelites, which was going on when the disciples were together in Jerusalem after Jesus' Resurrection and return to heaven. On that morning, however,  there appeared tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.  They began to speak in other languages. Because of the festival, crowds of visitors were in Jerusalem, speaking many languages. The scripture tells us the disciples of Jesus moved among them and spoke to them all, and “every man heard them speak in his own language” about “the wonderful works of God.”  If you read further in chapter 2,  Peter then makes a powerful speech to the crowds in the city and many were baptized as followers of Jesus. This last part is why we celebrate Pentecost as the birthday or beginning of the church. 

Another passage from the Gospel of John reminds us that Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit long before the ever-famous "tongues, as of fire" and "rush of a violent wind" from the book of Acts. I wrote about this passage a few weeks ago. 

Check this out:
Read John 14: 15-31

     In this scripture, Jesus is talking to the disciples and tells them soon they will no longer see him - but God will send the Holy Spirit through which he will always be with us. "I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you all that I have said to you." 

     What is God teaching me today? Perhaps I need to shut my mouth, open my eyes wide, and give myself the space to take it all in. What's causing the noise in your life today? Today might be chaotic and hectic. It might be filled with groans and side-eyes and sighs. You might be frustrated and anxious. 

   But, I think today might also be filled with the Holy Spirit and the voice of God. And we just might hear it if we are quiet enough to listen. What could God be teaching you today?

What to understand more about the Holy Spirit? Watch this! 

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