The Greeting of Pentecost

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Acts 2:42-47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

CONSIDER THIS

Acts chapter two begins with an extraordinary phenomenological demonstration of the Holy Spirit, but the chapter ends with the ordinary every day activities of the Holy Spirit. Apostles teaching and fellowship, breaking bread and prayer, signs and wonders, extravagant giving and receiving, worshipping God and blessing one another, and the steady movemental expansion of the Kingdom of on-Earth-as-it-is-in-Heaven. 

This is life isn’t it; occasionally exceptional, mostly ordinary? Tongues of fire and tables of fellowship. The problems come when we compare our ordinary with what strikes us as someone else’s exceptional. When it comes to the Holy Spirit, people notoriously compare their experience with others. This can create all manner of prideful expressions and inferiority complexes and all of this is needless. Everyone’s experience of the Holy Spirit is both common to others and in some manner unique. A person’s experience of the Holy Spirit is a mixture of personality and spirituality. The same Holy Spirit encounters vastly diverse human beings, generating vastly diverse expressions of the life of God through the distinctive personalities of people. And when it comes to the Holy Spirit, there is a very broad range of normal. 

All of this about personal experience leads me to say the primary and most normative experience of the Holy Spirit does not happen as an individual but in our relatedness to each other. The Holy Spirit is not given for the sake of a bunch of individualized people to compare their spiritual experiences with each other. The Holy Spirit is given to build up the Body of Christ, to create a supernatural, extraordinary community of ordinary people who carry, communicate, demonstrate and otherwise contagiously spread the holy love of God. 

There is a common little word tucked away in today’s text that is anything but common. I think it must be the Holy Spirit’s favorite word. It reads in the English text as “fellowship.” The Greek term is koinonia (pronounced koy-nohn-ee’-ah). This is a core word and concept we need to learn by heart. Koinonia means the abiding bond and connection between people given by the communitive presence of the Holy Spirit. Now, I’m not certain “communitive” is a real word, but it sounds exactly right to me. I dare say the most central, common, essential, and extraordinary experience of the Christian faith is that of being brought together into the company of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the very essence of awakening, and that is what we are—a fellowship of the awakening—koinonia

It reminds me of a greeting taught to me by my long time friend and treasured mentor, Maxie Dunnam. If you know Maxie, you know he is a “close talker.” He will approach, put both hands on your shoulders, look you straight in the eye and talk as though speaking into your very soul. I’ve seen him speak this greeting to a single person and also to several thousand together.

“The Spirit of Jesus in me greets the Spirit of Jesus in you, and brings us together in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

We will be sharing in this greeting together as we meet today over Zoom call at noon central to remember and celebrate the Day of Pentecost. You can start practicing now.

THE PRAYER

God our Father, who with your son Jesus Messiah, fills us with the Holy Spirit, thank you for this gift of koinonia. You bring us inside of your community of sacred fellowship, a place paved with love and filled with all the possibilities of your Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. Awaken us to this possibility as our ever increasing reality. Save us from needless comparisons with each other. Bring us into the holy commonality of Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen. 

THE QUESTION

What might happen if we shifted our aim from experiencing the Holy Spirit as an individual person to experiencing the Holy Spirit as a gathered people, from two or three to hundreds and even thousands? How might we make this shift? 

P.S. JOIN US TODAY AT NOON CENTRAL TIME HERE

Join Daily Text Nation, me, Dan Wilt, and the FarmTeam for a meeting with God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit  for a time of reflection and celebration of Pentecost today (Monday) at Noon central time. It’s Holy Spirit Summer Friends. Come on!

We will meet per usual on Zoom. Here is the link for the call: https://zoom.us/j/92076800600?pwd=M1NUZ01GQi9VSDNTSk01TGZsd3pqZz09

If requested, passcode is: 123456
 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. JD, I was taught, and do believe that the simple understanding of koinonia is “life together in Christ”. Understood this way, it leaves no room for a “just me and my Jesus” sort of privatized Christianity.
    I firmly believe that the only way to correctly bring about the needed transition from the individualistic, self glorifying, form of spiritual experience, so common here in America, will require the participation in some form of small group ministry in community with other small group ministries . I believe that is your ultimate goal for Seedbed Daily Text as well. I pray for this transition to occur.

  2. Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a gathered people requires a group openness to the Holy Spirit. We need to surrender our plans, programs, agendas, and control and instead trust the living Jesus to actively lead us and direct us like a conductor directing an orchestra. When we do that people connect heart-to-heart and amazing things begin to happen.

    I experienced the “communitive” presence and leadership of the Holy Spirit on Saturday. Someone invited my wife and I to a gathering of “house churches” that was going to meet on a sheep farm in Galatin, TN. Always ready for a Holy Spirit adventure, we went, not knowing what to expect. About 50 people had brought lawn chairs and had set them in a big circle in the grass. We squeezed our chairs in. The group consisted of Whites, Blacks, and an Asian, from babies to seventy-somethings and everything in between. My wife and I only knew five of the people.

    A man stood up and welcomed everybody and said that we were going to meet according to 1 Corinthians 14:26 and that means that anyone present may share what God puts on their heart. After a brief introduction and prayer, he sat down. Then, for the next two or so hours, people began to share as they were prompted by the Spirit. There was an amazing sense of God’s presence and peace (and order) as we looked at each other face to face and saw the love and joy of God manifesting in and through people around the circle. Afterwards we shared communion, a meal, and wonderful koinonia.

    Last night my wife and I had a similar meeting with some students at Lincoln Tech School in Nashville. We are blessed to get to meet with them for a meal and Holy Spirit led meeting every Sunday night. When we got home, I picked up a book (written in 1675 by Philip Jacob Spener) that I’ve been reading. about how to reform the church and I saw this: “In addition to our customary services with preaching, other assemblies would also be held in the manner in which Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40. ” (Those verses explain the question of the day: “How might we make this shift?”)

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