Last week, we discussed remaining hopeful and using our life experiences for the work of God no matter how challenging they may be. However, I understand that is easier said than done. Paul and Silas make it look so easy to just pray and sing and remain hopeful amid beatings, slander, imprisonment, and possible death. What we need to consider is how they remained so faithful; how they were able to muster the courage to see beyond their personal hardships to the ultimate message and work of God. And today’s scriptures are meant to open our eyes to that reason. Their lives were focused completely upon the Holy Spirit. Though neither one of them were present for that first Pentecost, once the spirit landed upon the faithful, and Christ ascended into the heavens, it was here to stay and available to all.
The spirit came to be the inspiration of all believers, those present and those who would come to faith later. And this includes us as well. We are called to lead a spirit focused life. We are called to look for the spirit alive in the world around us. Sometimes it is hard to remain inspired when we are tired and life has been keeping us awake with stress and worry. I am not going to lie. Monday morning I was a little less than inspired to the work of God. I had 3 hours of sleep and spent the night trying to soothe a teething baby who didn’t fall back to sleep until 5 in the morning. We all have those days, weeks, months, and sometimes years where life just wears us out and we feel lacking for inspiration that affords us courage when all we want to do is creep back into bed and pull the covers over our heads.
Even the Apostles had those days. They struggled with their fears, the persecution that they faced, with work life balance as many of them had families themselves that they cared for and physical needs that needed to be met. Yet in the constant movement of the Spirit they found that energy when it was lacking, they found the inspiration when they were dragging, and they found all that they needed to maintain their own faith in the face of adversity. And we can too.
Sometimes, when I am worn out by life, and life’s responsibilities, that weariness becomes a sign that I need a moment’s break. I step outside for a walk and watch the world around me, or I find away to take a nap to feel the revitalization I so desperately need. Or I pick up the phone and talk to someone close to me. In those moments, as minor as it may seem the Spirit finds a way to give me what I need to continue on in faith and work. I find that inspiration that I feel so drained of. One such day, I had writers block, the office was quiet, and I just needed to step away for a moment. So I went for a walk just right here to Old Sow Road and around. On my walk, I felt the warmth of the day on my skin, the energy of the much needed vitamin D from the sun, I felt the breeze caressing my face, I saw an eagle flying majestically in the sky. By the time I got back to the office, my mood had changed. And I knew that the Spirit was speaking to me, encouraging me, inspiring me in a new way.
The Spirit is not as obvious as it was on that first Pentecost in the way it interacts with humanity. We need to keep our hearts open to the presence of the spirit and its call upon our lives daily. We need to listen for the spirit not with our ears but rather with all of our senses and with our hearts. God is speaking to us every single day through the Spirit. Albert Camus, a 20th century Philosopher, wrote “Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as quietly as doves. Perhaps, then, if we listen attentively we shall hear amid the uproar of empires and nations a faint flutter of wings, a gentle stirring of life and hope”.
It can be hard amid the happenings of everyday life, the uproar of politics and international crisis, the drama of the world, to hear and see the Holy Spirit. But it is there wait to surprise us with its presence. The Spirit speaks, whispering to us, trying to ignite in each one of us a passion for God’s work, a passion for the message of Christ, a passion for the care of humanity.
So take some time this week to be observant, pull yourselves away from the 24 hour news programs, the internet, your devices, and tune into the natural world and then you will begin to feel that inspiration, you will hear the words of the Spirit floating upon the breeze. Allow for the Spirit to affect a passion, a zeal for God in your heart and in your work. Remember what happened on that first Pentecost, “The people heard them telling in their own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” Let us hear the words of life, let us search out the Holy Spirit and let us focus our lives upon it as the Apostles and the early Christians did. Let it guide our decisions, our care for one another, and our works as individuals and as a community of believers. With the Spirit as our focus, then no longer can others destroy our inner calm, no longer will we wander aimlessly through this life. We will begin to live into the purpose that God has designed for us. So find the Spirit and tune in to it and never let go of the inspiration it offers for tomorrow.
 Albert Camus, 20th century Philosopher.
 Acts 2: 11-12, RSV.
(Based on Acts 2: 1-21)