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Gifted with the Spirit

Posted on 28 May 2023

May 28, 2023

Acts 2:1-21

Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman


“There is a weariness among us.  We are weary from the loads we carry and the challenges we face.  We have questions we cannot answer and problems we cannot solve.  We’d hoped that life would be an invigorating pilgrimage, a high-country adventure.  We never expected to grow so tired so soon….

Yet what if there is help?  Someone to walk with you and guide you, to shoulder the load…..Someone who is ever strong.  Never tires.  Always near.  Unhindered by what hinders us.” (Max Lucado, Help is Here: Finding Fresh Strength and Purpose in the Power of the Holy Spirit, Pg XVII-XVIII)


And so begins Max Lucado’s book about the power of the Holy Spirit.


When I read those words, “there is a weariness among us”, I felt the truth of them in my soul.  I feel surrounded by those who are exhausted from constant care giving, by those who feel worn out from grief, by those who are tired from the constant change that seems to be our life.

I personally would just like the world to stop, to pause for a while.  I’d like the chance to not only catch up but to rest.  Rest from the challenges, rest from the new, rest from the constant demands.

Jesus’ followers likely felt exactly the same way.  In six weeks’ time, they had been through a roller coaster of emotions.  They had watched their friend and teacher, their hope of God’s kingdom come, they had watched Jesus die in the most excruciating way.  They had grieved at his tomb.  They had been stunned and amazed to find his body missing.  They had been ecstatic, doubtful, overwhelmed at the news that Jesus had risen from the dead.  And then for forty days until he had ascended to heaven, they had had encounter after encounter with the Risen Christ as he shared again the calling for his followers.

That’s a lot of emotions.  That’s a lot to process.  I imagine Jesus’ followers felt weary, tired, plain worn out, and greatly in need of rest.  I’ll bet they weren’t overly eager to ‘go forth into all the world to make disciples’.  I’ll bet they were really glad Jesus said stay in Jerusalem for a few days.

These days in Jerusalem were not for rest though.  And regardless, no amount of self-care could have strengthened them enough for what Jesus was calling them to do.  These days in Jerusalem were not for preparation either.  No amount of time could have been enough to prepare them to go out and share the good news of Jesus Christ.

These days were for waiting, waiting for the Holy Spirit.  Jesus had told his followers to wait for the gift the Father promised, to wait for the help Jesus had told them about, to wait to be baptized with, to be gifted with the Holy Spirit.

And so Jesus’ followers waited.  They waited and prayed.  They waited and tried to organize themselves for this ministry ahead of them.  They waited, not really knowing what to expect.  Would the Holy Spirit come gently like a dove?  Would the Holy Spirit come quietly like a whisper?

The Holy Spirit does come into our lives in those ways; however on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came with a roar, came like the blowing of a violent wind; came with power and might.

Sometimes, we need the Spirit to come to us in the silence.  Sometimes, we need the comfort of the Spirit wrapping us in healing arms.  Sometimes, we need gentle nudges to find our way back to Jesus’ path.  And sometimes, we need the Spirit to roar into our lives and invigorate us, make us bold, strengthen us to do things we never thought were possible, things we never could have done on our own.

On that day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came like a gale force wind into the lives, the hearts, the souls of Jesus’ followers and blessed them with confidence, with talents, with strength and energy. They spoke in other languages – all the better to share the good news of God’s love.  Peter boldly preached – all the better to invite people into a new life with Jesus Christ.  They left the known of Jerusalem, the known of Israel, to welcome all of God’s people into a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ.

They were gifted with the Holy Spirit and forever changed.  Forever changed because whenever they felt like their burdens were too many to carry, whenever they felt like they were rowing against the current, or had hit a roadblock; whenever they felt tired, weary, unable to go on in this journey of life, faith, or ministry, they remembered.

They remembered that there was help.  They did not need to do it on their own.  They couldnot do it on their own.  They had been gifted with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit to walk with them and guide them, to shoulder the load and invigorate them, the Holy Spirit to bless them with wisdom, strength and boldness.

God gave the Holy Spirit to all of Jesus’ followers, including us.  And so when we are feeling weary, when we are feeling like the burdens we are carrying are just too much, far too much, I remind you, I remind myself, that we don’t have to keep struggling, we don’t have to keep rowing against the current, we just need to stop and remember that we have been gifted with the Spirit.  The Spirit is here to help.  The Spirit is here to walk with us, to guide us, to encourage and sustain us.

God loves us so much that God sent us Jesus to show us this way of love and peace; God loves us so much that God showed us through Christ’s death and resurrection that nothing can separate us from God’s love; God loves us so much God gave us a friend, a helper to guide us and pick us up, to energize and strengthen us to do the impossible in God’s love.

So when you are feeling weary and worn out, take a deep breath.  Take a deep breath of the Spirit and know that you are never alone.  Sigh.  Sigh out your exhaustion to the Holy Spirit.  Trust in the Spirit to walk with you, to guide you, to shoulder the load.  Trust in the Spirit to do what we cannot.

Take a deep breath.  The Spirit is with you.  The Spirit is around you.  The Spirit is within you, blessing us all with confidence, with talents, with strength and energy to keep walking this journey of life, to thrive on this journey of life, to be a blessing to the world as we boldly share the good news of God’s unconditional love.