One of my favorite verbal exchanges in the Bible happens at the end of the story of the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost in Acts 2. After all the wildness and chaos of the wind and flames and people speaking new languages, some members of the crowd jeer at those so consumed by the Spirit, saying “They must be full of new wine!” To which Peter replies, “They aren’t drunk, as you suspect, it’s only nine o’clock in the morning!”
Time of day notwithstanding, what Peter understood that those outsiders didn’t was that the earliest followers of Jesus weren’t under the influence of new wine that day, but of the Holy Spirit. And out of their experiences came the early and still popular understanding of what it looks like to be filled with the Spirit. If you’ve spent any time in the Pentecostal tradition in particular, you know that manifestations such as the speaking in tongues, shouting and dancing in worship, etc. are still ways that a person can show that they are under the influence of the Spirit.
In my own experience with folks over the years, I have come to an understanding that there are other ways through which people have shown me that they are filled by the Holy Spirit. And while I would argue that there are times when we “laid-back” United Methodists would do well with a little more enthusiasm in worship, at the same time, I have been blessed by others who show that they are under the influence of the Spirit in other quieter, even behind-the-scenes ways that are just as powerful a witness as the more “out there” manifestations.
As the book of Acts continues (a book that is filled with stories of varied people finding themselves under the influence of the Spirit) we see many ways in which the Spirit can act within a person’s life. And in 1 Corinthians, Paul lists the many gifts that the Holy Spirit puts within us, and in that list we can’t help but find some that we see in ourselves, from administration to teaching to healing to faith. What is clear in all of this is that as disciples, we are all under the influence of the Holy Spirit every day and we can show that to the world in a myriad of ways. On Pentecost Sunday we will be talking about all of this in worship. If you have been wondering about the how the Spirit can act (or has been acting) in and through your life, then you will want to join us!
In the Spirit (and enthusiastic about it!),