I had an Epiphany on Pentecost.
My “ah-ha!” moment occurred during Fr. Matt’s sermon. Now, I’ve heard many sermons on Pentecost. They’ve all focused on things like the birth of the Church, the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the empowerment of the disciples and the like.
But Fr. Matt pointed out something I’d never considered before: Pentecost happened during a meeting.
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Well, I about fell out of the loft chuckling. A meeting! Known to so many of us as that great interrupter-of-productivity, that drainer-of-energy, that breaker-of-plans. There’s not a soul on the planet who hasn’t, at one time or another, prayed for an excuse to avoid sitting in a meeting. Aw, shucks, I’ll have to miss the meeting, I have to bathe my cat / have a root canal / go to my niece’s dance recital.
It wasn’t just the meeting idea, though, that brought about my Epiphany. It was the realization that yes, there IS power in group intention, and I’m seeing it coming out of the spiritual closet after hiding out for a while.
The apostles had been sequestered for some days after Jesus’ ascension, wondering what the heck was going to happen next. They’d already seen incredible miracles. But…what next? They were hanging out in the upper room, praying, talking, eating, and yes, meeting.
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Paul, in Acts, tells us of the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Call it a Hollywood moment or not, but clearly something happened. Whether it was an arrival of God in the Holy Spirit, or whether it was an awakening of God / Spirit within is something I’ll leave up to theologians to quibble over. But something stirred, woke up, brought, quickened, sparked SPIRIT inside of everyone there.
And I wonder what their shared intention had to do with it. They were there, in community, together, all focused on receiving whatever direction they were to receive. They were focused on surrender, to following whatever the path was. I don’t doubt they were frightened and probably quite clueless.
What next? And then, something happened. Whether you call that something the Holy Ghost, Spirit, or whatever – something Divine that was greater than any one of them brought them all together in shared intention and empowered them.
Acts tells us that they went out among the people that very day, preaching and baptizing thousands. Was it their shared experience – their meeting – that enabled them to lean upon each other spiritually, enhance the spiritual strength of the whole, and thereby be in a position to receive this incredible gift?
One way or another, consciousness rises. Sooner or later, humanity realizes that God is indeed in each of us. When we read the story of Pentecost, we should remember that this is what the story is about; that relying on Spirit – God – within ourselves gives us strength to do that which we would not otherwise do. Joining with others to focus intention, prayer and awareness raises this consciousness as a whole. I believe this is a path for humanity that we need to follow. We are a wonderful collection of unique, individual souls with a glorious diversity of gifts and personalities. At our core, we are all expressing God, for we are all made in the image and likeness of God from the very being of God.
The color of Pentecost is red. This is the same color as the root chakra in Hindu and yogic traditions . (If you’re not familiar with chakras, they are energy centers in the subtle body; a quick internet search will give you an overview.) Each chakra is important. The root chakra is one of energy and empowerment, and well suited to Pentecost. For without the energy, empowerment, and passion of the Spirit that was awakened during that Pentecost meeting, the story of Jesus would never had made it out of the upper room.