Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
Acts 2:3 (NRSV)
“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, late 17th-century
It’s a different sort of Pentecost this year. We won’t be walking in wearing the sort of burning-red clothing that emphasizes my rosacea and facility with registering embarrassment through flaming cheeks. We won’t be celebrating the professions of faith of our Confirmation students as previously expected, or welcoming some of the new folks and families who sought to join this church… In the Before Time. It’s a different sort of Pentecost requiring a different sort of message.
As we read through Acts 2 again, it starts with the gathered faithful together in one place. This loud sound and mighty wind interrupts their gathering, and then this visual manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire descends onto each person gathered and… rests.
Watching a fire from a safe distance is a peaceful way to while away a Spring or Summer evening. Not so peaceful, perhaps, for the wood or other fuel being consumed to keep it burning, however. This fire of God rested on the people, transformed and enabled them to do wondrous things. As disciples of Jesus Christ we trust that that same fire dwells within each of us.
The Bible has many more books, chapters, and verses addressing times of struggle, even exile, than times of comfort and ease. Brother Lawrence and other perpetual prayers remind us of the value of beginning a never-ending practice of remembering God’s presence in all the things we do, whenever and wherever. My prayer for this Pentecost is that the holy fire which rests within each of us burn brighter within each of you today and every day.