Pentecost in Modern-Day Community of Christ
One of the marvels of trying to fathom the gift of the Holy Spirit is the sort of parallel truths that the Gift of the Holy Spirit is both an individual blessing as well as a community blessing. We understand Pentecost as a community blessing because the scripture in Acts tells us that the Holy Spirit descended while the disciples “were all in one place together”, in essence, when they were in community. But the Acts scripture also tells us that the Holy Spirit sought each person and “parted and came to rest on each one of them.” (Acts 2:1-3.)
Yesterday I shared my testimony about a very personal experience with the Holy Spirit while I stood on the ancient streets of the Cardo in Jerusalem. So today I would like to share my testimony of experiencing the Holy Spirit in community. For me, this is a frequent experience. There have been so many times in my congregation, at reunion and even in our Zoom worship services when not only have sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit in communal worship, but that I have heard many others proclaim that they felt the same. You’ve heard the people say it: “There was a powerful Spirit” or “I felt the Spirit” or “that was a moving and powerful experience.” All pointing to the shared community experience of the Holy Spirit, a sort of everyday Pentecost when we become aware of the numinous nature of a particular moment or experience.
God’s desire to bring holy blessing to people is not limited to Community of Christ, but I am simply saying that it is my experience that worship in Community of Christ is an effective channel for me to connect with the divine will, the Holy Wisdom of God. How that is expressed and experienced varies along many spectrums – as we have been told that there are many gifts of the Spirit. I believe that. At times the Holy Spirit is experienced in the gift of knowledge through a powerful story or sermon that expresses ideas that transform our thinking. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is experienced through powerful hymns and majestic music that elevates the heart to an awareness of the ineffable divine. Sometimes we experience that Holy Spirit in a moment of proactive service when we reach out and connect with human need. And sometimes we experience the Holy Spirit as in Elijah’s experience simply that still, small voice of silence. When we open our minds, hearts, vision and hands to experience the Holy Spirit in all the myriad ways of spiritual experience, it is like a gift, a blessing from God.
I remember the Pentecostal nature of the experience when President Veazey shared the inspired counsel that is now Section 163 of the Doctrine and Covenants. As those gathered to hear President Veazey’s remarks recessed the Auditorium there was a profound sense that something very special had been shared. The confirmation of the Holy Spirit was present in that moment and as the Community of Christ engaged with these new words of counsel. As I shared in conversation immediately following the service and throughout the remainder of the conference there was a sense of wonder and awe at what had been experienced and what had been shared.
May we continue to receive Pentecostal blessings in Community of Christ as we journey forward in the mission of Jesus Christ.