They say it was a glorious day some two thousand years ago when the Spirit of Truth, the outpoured presence of Jesus, was released upon the world for the edification of all those with ears to hear. It happened then, it’s happening now, and I celebrate the significance of Pentecost that I’m hearing.
Ahead of this moment our planet witnessed a miraculous demonstration of the Father’s love with the birth of Jesus – a joyous proclamation of Immanuel, God with us, in the flesh. Jesus’ intense 33 years was a life of selfless devotion and service, an unparalleled revelation of man submitted to the Father’s will, even his ignominious death on the cross. And his celebrated resurrection was proof positive he was indeed everything he claimed to be – God with us, and man perfected.
However, I was not there in that day; I wasn’t privileged to catch a glimpse or walk the dusty road alongside him. But on Pentecost he left us with more than a memory. On this day the Spirit of Truth became the personal gift from the Master to all who would receive — a Spirit presence accessible in our very own mind. Apostles and followers far and wide were energized for exultant service by the gospel of new wine, including generations on down to you and me. The universality of Jesus’ gospel is suggested by the ubiquitous nature of this amazing phenomenon.
Despite all the magnificent endowments that have come through his life on earth, I find Pentecost the most meaningful to me. This day Jesus revealed the totality of himself. Jesus of Nazareth—Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords–became accessible to all humanity, to me. God with us had become God within us.
Such a beneficent gift… personal, liberating, empowering, humbling…
Jesus not only came to my planet; he’s comes to my mind. Something to ponder… If he’s available within my mind, am I present and available to him? Can I discern his voice? If so, am I ready to forego all my pre-conceived notions about him–who he is, or may be, and what he may have said, and why he came? Am I ready to know this Jesus on a deeply personal level, to learn anew, and courageously follow after? How intimate …
The Spirit of Truth is personal! Fellowshipping with him is to experience religion “first-hand”. He’s inviting me through personal revelation to experience a living and growing spiritual consciousness of sonship with God.
This Spirit of Truth is liberating! If he’s in our minds, we are now free to recall his inspiring words, his magnificent person and nature, and personally interpret his message for today. Indeed, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Yes, liberating and alive, blessed with the God-given free-will choice to participate or not.
The Spirit of Truth is empowering! Jesus trusts my soul with his Truth! If religion has become a personal experience, then, Whoa!… that means the authority of religion shifts away from the custody of priests and sacred classes. In personal relationship with him we’re liberated and empowered to become a “priesthood of all believers”. Now there’s a sacred responsibility…
In fellowship with him we’re invited to accommodate ever-unfolding Truth measured out by our desire and capacity. He’s provided spiritual gifts to hasten the spread of the gospel–the same power bestowed to the Apostles, which is not rampant emotionalism. Jesus has such faith in our potential that he calls us to perfection and self-mastery that imbues us with spiritual power, wisdom, and grace in the service of the gospel and our fellows. Humbling…
It was a sorrowful day two thousand years ago when Jesus sat on the mount and wept over his blessed Jerusalem. How he would have “gathered his chicks”. Today he still weeps for his divided house “that they may be ONE”. And the church wonders why its pews are empty! Christians who have become increasingly intolerant of the very hypocrisy Jesus confronted centuries ago are backing away with agonizing soulful searching.
To the church of centuries I would join the chorus: “Come out of your cave walking on your hands, and see the world hanging upside down.”* You have served well but you must be baptized anew! I summon you to learn from Jesus the true gospel that restores relationship, his love-saturated gospel anchored in the Great Commandment. And that is simply to love God your Father, love and serve your sisters and brothers, and by faith daily experience this ennobling truth. THIS is the gospel that Jesus consistently proclaimed to the apostles over three intense years of ministry. But within moments after the glorious resurrection of their crucified Master, these ecstatic apostles misappropriated the good news into “worship of the risen Christ.” It soon became a religion about Jesus, which the church–for the most part–has fossilized and fostered to this day.
Love God, love and serve the human family as Jesus did. What can be better than that? When this consummate gospel is embraced and lived out, it will transform the world! The religion OF Jesus is simply offering fellowship with God—the religion of personal experience. The truth of this was delivered en masse with power at Pentecost. If the church would only appropriate this gospel! Doing so will unleash heaven to assist in healing division, unify and inspire all true seekers, and dry some tears.
Many Christians today, through personal revelation, are becoming attuned to the Spirit’s call, learning to depend solely on Jesus and becoming empowered to lead in new directions. I’ve become inspired by spontaneous eruptions of the Jesusonian spirit within the progressive-emergence-
The hope of Pentecost for me is that we become invigorated by the Master’s bountiful spirit bequest of living fellowship, liberation, and empowerment. May we embrace in fullness the religion of Jesus and his transformative gospel. And may this shared love resurrect the invisible Jesus brotherhood we’re destined to be, this living organism, true church, and latent Kingdom of God. If the institutional church is to remain and fill its pews, it must welcome this new wine, shed its skin, and follow after, for if “to live is Christ and to die is gain” then “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.”*
* Lyrics from Mumford & Sons;
Graphics by the late Ronald Chaddock