We are all interested in one kind of power or another: earning power, purchasing power, the speed of our computers, the engine capacity of our cars, and even the power of authority over others around us. In contrast, Jesus invites us to seek a much more profound strength, fire, and release of power. He invites us to a communion that bursts forth into outreach to othersthe experience of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus promises and sends the Holy Spirit to us, just as he did to the apostles when they gathered in the upper room (Acts of the Apostles 2:113). They had seen Jesus leave, but they wanted him back. Then something new happened. But as unusual as their experience was for them, Pentecost was not just a teeth-rattling sonic boom that spit fire on their heads out of a clear blue sky. The disciples knew Jesus as a real model of what it means to receive and be immersed into the life of the TrinityFather, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Pentecost was a breakthrough in the disciples’ experience of God. They had stood beside lepers made clean. They had known blind and lame who were recreated by the touch of Jesus. With Pentecost, they were transformed from being attentive, but sometimes bewildered bystanders into being a dynamic community of deliberate and unshakable witnesses to Jesus. Their lives were lived in communion with God and that communion was expressed in their outreach to others as they built community.
Though we weren't present at the first Pentecost, it does not mean that we were left out. Each of us receives the very life of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, at our baptism. The completion of Christian initiation through the sacraments of Eucharist and confirmation is meant to be our own personal Pentecost. Yet if someone were to ask us, “Have you received the Holy Spirit? Are you living life in tune with the inner life of the Trinity?” what would the answer be? Can we say we have accepted and received the same Spirit of self-surrender and power that was evident in the disciples after Pentecost, and in Jesus’ surrender to the Father’s will at the Jordan River and throughout his earthly life and ministry?
Being immersed in the life of the Trinity is not a new sacrament, but a quickening of earlier faith gifted in us at our baptism and strengthened in us at confirmation and the celebration of the Eucharist. Even if our own immersion into the river of God’s life seems to be a remote and sentimental moment in infancy, we now possess a key to vitality in Christian livingactive communion in the life of the Trinity: through the gift and power of the Holy Spirit, to become more like Jesus who reveals the heart and will of the Father. With this key, we can be like the apostles who left the upper room, once their hiding place, to be those who called others out of isolation and into relationship based on the communion they experienced in the life of the Trinity who is one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.