Pentecost has arrived right in the middle of our Anabaptist Values series, which is perfect because the Holy Spirit was such an integral part of the life and faith of the early Anabaptists. Our reading for this Sunday focused on the beginning of the Pentecost event (Acts 2:1-21), and we discussed how the Holy Spirit invades from heaven, enabling and empowering a community, an other community.
In fact, the Spirit is heaven invading. This builds on our discussion from last week about the “two kingdoms.” Then, we emphasized that it is not our call to construct the kingdom of God, but to participate in God’s order of peace and justice together, which is already available and has come near in Jesus. This extends to Pentecost, where it is Christ’s Spirit that descends on the church bringing the kingdom near, forming real community.
The Holy Spirit invading is what we pray for when we pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We participate in the Spirit together, and we participate in this new community together, not primarily by striving, but by yielding ourselves to the Spirit.
There are many characteristics of this Spirit community, and we discuss a few in this sermon, two of which are the overcoming of division and the imposition of dominance, by uniting and affirming difference. This is a community that embraces difference, while overcoming division in the one Spirit.
“This is a community of One Spirit, not a ramshackle social contract of individual self-interested spirits, as American Capitalism trains us to be, proclaiming the virtue of selfishness. Our life in the Spirit make us one body.”
It is a community that is not defined by the economies of exploitation and self-interest, but one defined by mutual care and holding all things in common. And, it is also a community of those who are formed and allowing themselves to be formed by the Spirit. This requires our life be in the Spirit. So here are a couple questions to think about this week:
- What does it mean to be a community of the Spirit, to yield to the Spirit as a community?
- How are we as a community yielding to the Spirit to allow the fruit of the Spirit to grow among us?
- How do we as a community strive against division and the imposition of dominance (whether that be cultural, racial, economic, education-based, or any other such grasping for power), being a community that celebrates difference, cares for the other, and denies exploitation?
For convenience sake, there is also a podcast available. You can find that here.