Saturday, June 03, 2017

“Receive the Holy Spirit” by Jim Bayne

Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. (Acts 2:3-4)

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. (1 COR 12:4-7)

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20:19-23)

Come, Holy Spirit, come! And from your celestial home Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor! Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best; You, the soul's most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below; In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat; Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine, Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught, Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill. Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew; Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will; Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray. On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore In your seven-fold gift descend;
Give them virtue's sure reward; Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen. Alleluia.

For three years, this group of everyday guys followed the Lord all over, but even at the end, they hadn’t really caught on to his message. When the Good Friday events occurred, all - except for John and the women - ran away. They spent much of the next 50 days locked up in the upper room, paralyzed with fear of the Jews.

All of a sudden, one bright morning, in a flash, their whole world changed. What a difference a day can make!! From the moment they experienced the holy Spirit, their lives would never be the same. Suddenly their special gifts - which had been a part of them all along - were set free. Beginning with this special morning, they understood what the past three years were all about and they were ready to give their all to do the work Jesus laid out for them without regard to the personal cost.

Besides the unique gifts that God has given each of them, they all possessed the universal gifts of the Spirit available to all of us: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22)

For those of us who are a part of the Cursillo community, our three-day weekend was a Pentecost experience. Like the original Pentecost, it was something we shall never forget. For Diane and I, it was the beginning of the second half of our lives. We measure everything “since our Cursillo weekend.” I am certain that the Apostles and the women with them likewise measured their lives “since Pentecost.”

What makes Cursillo so powerful is not the talks or other activities; it is the people we encounter. It was the same for the original disciples: three years exposure to Jesus and the people he encountered along the way. This was followed by 50 days spent waiting, watching, praying, and sharing together; waiting for the Spirit Jesus promised he would send. And then “WHAM!!!”

Sometimes it takes a while for the power of the Spirit to descend upon us. Sometimes it comes like a sudden wind, but come it will if we but wait and watch.

Has the Spirit descended upon you? How did it change your life? If the Spirit came and went, what can you do to bring her back? Matthew 25 offers some of the quickest and best ways to awaken the Spirit within you.

Try feeding the hungry and quenching their thirst, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoner or the sick and, perhaps most important these days, welcoming the stranger. These will be life changing activities for you and the people you serve. Reach out to the other, and you are bound to be filled with that Pentecost Spirit. 

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