I pray this Sunday is the same for us: enlivening, inspiring, equipping us for the joy of discipleship before us. Because the Holy Spirit is just that in these early stories: it enlivens, by waking them up to a new way of understanding an old prophesy; it inspires by a fresh way of mutual understanding between a diversity of cultures; it equips to be disciples going forward into the future through a power that is beyond themselves.
But here's my concern after all these years: have we blown out those candles? Have we become burned out? Burned out to the possibilities that God can make this happen? Have we stopped allowing ourselves to feel this way - enlivened, inspired, equipped? Have the troubles of this world squashed a divine flame to the point where we are feeling burned out as Christians? Have we become so focused on our jobs and tasks and family problems that we have lost our true purpose as Christians? Have we started to loose hope that our discipleship to spread the good news of Jesus Christ makes a difference?
I know that sometimes when you listen to the discouragement of the local news or the daily political contests or the international turmoils, it can feel overwhelming. It can feel like a flame that is just burning to the point of becoming an ember, consumed by all of the needs of redemption in our world. Is God's saving grace enough for the mess we are in? And that's just the headlines, not to mention our daily stresses, troubles and worries? How can the saving grace of Jesus be enough for all of this?
And that is when we must realize that the Holy Spirit of which Jesus proclaimed and which arrives at Pentecost is not a fire that burns out. This is the same kind of fire as the burning bush of Moses. This is a fire that is never consumed. This is a fire that keeps on burning no matter what we do or say. It burns because of who God is, not who we are.
And that is why we don't get burned out. We won't get discouraged by the many tasks before us that feel all -consuming, because we believe that God's work will happen through us as we do the best we can in divine grace. We won't allow this fire to burn to an ember because we will fan the flames of the Scriptures and its encouragement to us everyday. We won't allow our doubts or discouragements to stomp out the fire that is in our souls, because we believe that with God, all things, even those beyond our understanding or imagination, are possible.
For we are ones who stay focused intently on how God's redemption and love is changing this world. As a part of that good work, don't ever allow yourself to get burned out. For that flame of the Holy Spirit has been with us for millinnia, inspiring, encouraging, enlivening Jesus' disciples to realize what was possible.
Keep on burning,