We often talk about our mission and values where I work. It is a hospital that was started by Franciscan sisters with a local doctor and his two sons. Because the mission and values are seen as inviolable even as innovation and change are constants, I know that when my supervisor leaves her position, her successor will be as committed to our mission and values as she was. The successor will advocate for us in our work and our lives outside of work. When we are discouraged, our new supervisor will remind us of our call to service, inspiring us to new commitment.
In his farewell instructions, Jesus announces a succession plan. His time with the disciples is limited, but the Spirit who will come after him will be with them forever. The Spirit will be their advocate and teacher and will cause them to remember Jesus’ words and deeds so that they can set them as their touchstone. Enabled by the Spirit, the disciples will continue the work they have witnessed as they walked with Jesus. They will offer healing where there is brokenness. They will bring peace amid dissension. They will speak the truth that sets the prisoners free.
We have inherited our mission from the disciples, and the call they received from Jesus is the same one that comes to us through our baptismal vows when—through water and the Spirit—we are initiated into the priesthood of believers. Surrounded by our community of faith, we are charged with loving our neighbors as ourselves and with proclaiming the good news of God in Christ with our words and with our lives. As the cloud of witnesses between the disciples and our generation would attest, without the Spirit such a mission is unattainable. But with the Spirit, nothing is impossible.
I pray, O God, for a deepening commitment to your mission for my life. Amen.
In preparing for Pentecost, we focus again on the work of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2 recounts the famous story in which the disciples are miraculously able to speak in other languages in order to preach to the crowds in Jerusalem. The psalmist states that God creates and renews creation through the Spirit. According to Paul, if we are led by God’s Spirit, the Spirit confirms that we are children of God. In the Gospel of John, Jesus promises to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who will teach us how to love him and to keep his commandments. In some branches of Christianity, fear of excess causes hesitation about the Holy Spirit; however, we must never forget that the Spirit is central to God’s redeeming work.
Read Acts 2:1-21. The miracle of Pentecost is not only in the multitude of languages but also in the act of listening. How can you experience worship in many languages or offer deep listening this Pentecost?
Read Psalm 104:24-34, 35b. How do you witness God’s experience woven through all of creation?
Read Romans 8:14-17. The author reminds us that spirit also means breath. When have you felt led by the breath of God?
Read John 14:8-17, 25-27. How has fear kept you from trusting God?
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