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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, June 5, 2022

June 5, 2022
  • Acts 2:1-21
  • Romans 8:14-17
  • John 14:8-17, (25-27)
  • Psalm 104:25-35, 37



The story of Pentecost begins this week in the Gospel. Jesus knows that His disciples have a difficult journey ahead of them and prepares them for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. What He asks of His disciples is simple: love for, and belief in, Himself. After Jesus's ascension, the disciples could have been challenged with doubts and fears, turning defensively inwards. Instead, they hold on to their faith, sustaining each other in prayer before they receive the Spirit on Pentecost. Personally, I find it easy to imagine Jesus's movement falling apart the moment He leaves the building. Jesus gives us the simplest remedy in calling us to love. By the love they share, the disciples receive a greater gift than they ever could have imagined - reeiving not only God's love but the gift of languages, to spread that love to all nations. The Spirit's offerings are bountiful and spill out from the recipients to everyone around them.

Who is the Holy Spirit? We humans have been challenged by the Spirit since our first introduction. Ebbing and flowing, the Spirit is as ephemeral as Jesus Himself after the resurrection - appearing only briefly, difficult to understand, staying just out of reach, yet touching us in our very souls and providing us with lasting strength. The Spirit is nothing less than deep abundance of life itself, life in opposition to the sinful division and death offered by the world. We see the Holy Spirit working alongside us at every turn, providing us with every breath and blooming plant. I think my favorite reading is from the psalm, expansively praising God's creation and His grace in bestowing us with the gift of life.

The Spirit's gift of life can be difficult to receive because the Spirit stands against everything we know about life in the world, everything that leads us to rebel against the love of God. (An optional first reading this week is the story of the tower of Babel, when human language first became diversified as a result of human sin and pride. Not long after we were created we already were seeking ways to increase our status, seeking to overpower even God.) Paul also reminds us that when we receive the Spirit, we are not to waste our gift as we may instinctively do. The Spirit is powerful, but powerful on God's terms - powerfully loving. The Spirit's power does not divide and crush us like worldly power but instead gives us bountiful strength to connect with other humans in God's new life.

Having received this gift of new life, our lives are unable to fully contain the Spirit, and we are drawn to share God's joy like the early disciples. This sharing has never been easy, and though the stakes have somewhat changed from early Christianity, we still fear rejection and the sneers of the crowd. (I also have counted myself among those whose coworkers do not know I go to church on Sundays.) The Spirit has never promised us the easy way out and we must fully commit to our choice whether we want to fully accept the gift of life. Once we take our first steps forward in faith, sharing our joy, we find that we have been accompanied the whole time by fellow believers and the very presence of the Spirit.  

- Betsy Noecker


Have you ever felt the presence of the Holy Spirit? Have there been times you were filled with sudden strength or courage, or couldn't resist speaking up?

Sometimes when we disagree with someone we feel so distanced it's like we are speaking different languages. Do you pray for God's help in resolving disagreements or fights?

After receiving the Spirit, the disciples couldn't resist preaching the good news to everyone around them. What does it look like for you to share the Gospel in our own time?


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