“The Holy Spirit is described as ‘wind’ and ‘fire’ in Acts. In John, Jesus uses the analogy of water. All three of these elements can be unpredictable, disruptive and hard to control. In some churches, there may be a tension between encouraging spontaneity and freedom (of the Spirit), while ensuring that there is still order and continuity in what takes place. How can we maintain a healthy balance in ways that enable God to work in the lives of all those in our church?
Those who experienced what was taking place in Jerusalem were taken aback, despite the prophet Joel and Jesus predicting the Holy Spirit’s arrival. Peter, who preached what was arguably the first sermon, used the Scriptures to explain what was taking place. How good is our knowledge of the Bible when it comes to speaking about our faith? And in terms of reading it, do we tend to ignore those portions that make uncomfortable reading, or are ‘difficult’ to understand? What prophecies might be fulfilled in our time?
Those who heard the believers speaking in ‘other languages’ were from every part of the known world of the time. It was a clear sign of the Holy Spirit’s unifying power – bringing together people from different backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities. Today we extol the merits of having diverse congregations in our churches, but in practice many local congregations struggle to make the ideal of unity (and equality) a reality. What is it that holds us back, and how might we overcome such barriers? How can we work to ensure our churches are as inclusive and unified as possible?”
Extracts have been taken from Roots with permission.