God is smiling down upon us today as we celebrate this great feast of the Pentecost. Perhaps God is saying “Finally, things have worked themselves out… perhaps it is today that they understand.”
Pentecost begins before time was time. It was in Genesis, on the first day of creation. The Spirit hovered over the dark and formless void;
Before history was history, God blows the breath of life into Adam… And almost immediately we see how the human mind takes over from the Spirit.
Adam and Eve are created and we see their original innocence in the garden change to original sin, bringing about a separation from God that nothing can heal.
Cain and Abel, defeat the gift of life, by bringing death. The Tower of Babel, when we try to reach for the sky to become like God, the tower crashing down and we are we scattered by distance and more importantly, by tongue; we can no longer communicate, because now we all speak different languages.
God, tired, wipes us out in the Flood of Noah, water no longer a symbol of creation, but de-creation; God sad that he has done this, lets us start over, the wind blowing over the waters and revealing the new dry land.
A great wind separating the Red Sea, God’s people walking through the water as if dry land. Grumbling in the desert… “at least we had water in in Egypt…”
The Spirit flowing upon King David, who throws it all away. The Spirit anointing the prophets, who try and speak the truth, but who is left to listen to them?
And then, a most important thought from the heart of God… “Maybe, if I send my Son… they will listen.”
An angel announcing to a woman overshadowed by the same Spirit that was there at creation. An angel speaking to a man: “Have no fear, it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived.”
A king, so poor, he is born in a stable, becomes a refugee, his father lucky enough to have work and teach a trade to his son.
Now, the big question. Will they listen to him? Will they see that God loves his people so much that wonders can happen, stories can be told, prophecies can be fulfilled and the world can be put back the way God intended?
It works for a while. And then Jesus on the Cross breathes his last and gives up his Spirit.
But God is not finished with us yet. He promised he would not give up on us again, and on the third day He is raised from the dead. Those who believe, run to the tomb! The one who betrayed him is no longer a part of the story.
And so in a time, where time is no longer important, and in a place where history no longer matters, the next promise comes true.
After all had fallen apart (again,) they remember that he said they would never be alone. He promised he would send the Holy Spirit as helper, Advocate, and guide. And as he comes into the upper room, he wishes us peace and breathes upon us the Holy Spirit. And then the noise starts, the house shakes, the shingles begin to fly off, the wind, the Spirit from so long ago brings the world back together again.
From the separation at the Tower of Babel, the people hear one language out of many, from the flood, the world is no longer a place to be wiped out, but to be lived in.
Early difficulties, between who should belong or not. Settled once and for all. Paul the Persecutor, overshadowed, filled with the Holy Spirit and sent to the Gentiles. The Jewish believers amazed that the Holy Spirit is now sent to make them one, a united people all over the world. And we are Baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Before time was time and history was history, at a very shaky and questionable beginning, we are no longer drifting apart but being brought together by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us today at this Pentecost.
That most important question from the heart of God “Maybe, if I send my Son… they will listen” is answered today as God says: “Finally, things have worked themselves out… it is today that they really do understand.”