By Steven Norris
This Sunday, Christians around the world will celebrate Pentecost, the “birthday” of the Church. In our worship, we remember the gift of the Holy Spirit, poured out on a small band of Jesus-followers, huddled together in prayer inside an upper room in Jerusalem.
As a result, the Spirit began speaking through these men and women in various languages, empowering the gathered crowd to hear the message of Christ in each one’s mother tongue. In other words, God spoke to each person, meeting them at the deep inner place where their soul most longed for connection and communion. It is to that same spirit that I pray:
O Spirit of Pentecost…Spirit of power…Spirit of wind and fire and tongue, you spoke to the world in a thousand tongues those many years ago. Speak to us again this Pentecost in the language we so desperately need to hear.
Speak to us now in the language of comfort. We, your people, are hurting. Sick bodies need to feel words of healing and restoration wash over them. Gasping lungs need to be filled with your life-giving breath. O Spirit, speak words of resurrection and life.
Speak to us now in the language of our fear. It’s the fear that lurks on the other side of our front doors, behind masks, and within endless streams of statistics and breaking news updates. Speak aloud of the perfect love that drives out fear.
Speak to us in the language of gratitude. Remind us of the blessings that surround us – those of friends, family, neighbors, and loved ones. Remind us of your provision in the simplicity of daily bread and familiar routines. Remind us to look at your care of the sparrows as evidence that you can and will provide.
Speak to us in the language of shalom (peace). To our brokenness, speak wholeness. Into our turmoil, speak calm assurance. Into our discord and chaos, speak your harmony and order.
Speak to us in the language of unity. Fractured people that we are – divided by opinions, pain, and prejudice, make us one. Divided along racial lines, denominational lines, political lines, and ideological lines, speak the words that demolish segregating walls.
Speak to us in the language of wisdom. Our leaders deeply desire to lead well. We want to guide your people to green pastures and protect them from threats within and without. However, the voices beckoning our attention are legion and an endless throng of opinions arrive without invitation. Help us cut through the noise to find truth.
Speak to us in the language of hope. Remind us that we see only partially while you see in whole. Remind us that you who began a good work in us will carry it to completion. Remind us to wait on you, in order that our strength might be renewed. Remind us of the coming kingdom and the celebratory banquet of your abundance.
On this Pentecost, come, Holy Spirit, fill our ears with glad tidings of great joy. Come, fill our minds and souls with Gospel truth. Come, fill our hearts and mouths with songs of praise. Come.