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.
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.
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.
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?
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/
For the Awakening,