The prophet Joel predicted it. The church experienced it. The disciples acted by its power. I’m talking about the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out onto the church. The wind blew, the fire burned, and people could really talk to each other.
I have yet to attend a worship service like that first one. Oh, I’ve seen bells and whistles, and I’ve heard some mighty fine music and occasionally an interesting sermon. But I’ve witnessed nothing with the power described in Acts 2.
In fact, for all the energy we pour into our churches, we are rather anemic.
So what’s going on?
Was it a singular event to celebrate the entrance of the church into the world? Possibly, but I’m going to assume that God still pours his Presence into the church and into our hearts, whether I feel it or not. So how do we see it? How can we work in concert with this mysterious Spirit, so we can benefit from its power?
As I read through Acts 2 again, I note Joel’s words about young men having visions and old men having dreams. What dreams? What visions?
I believe people actually get what they envision. Does the church have dream of a great performance team? They can have that. Want a bigger building? That’s possible. A hotshot, spellbinding, fireball of a speaker? They’re out there. But these are not necessarily vessels of the Spirit.
What if we dream with the Spirit of a God who longs to heal and minister to others? What if we see ourselves as vessels of compassion, mercy, and love? What if the church envisions itself helping a dark and crooked world to become bright and happy? We could have that.
Perhaps these visions can open our eyes to the same Spirit whose presence was poured out on the people at Pentecost. And we’ll see it has always been right there.