The Holy Spirit of God
Today is Pentecost Sunday. In the calendar of many traditional Christian denominations, Pentecost is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter, and 10 days after the Ascension. The name is derived from the Greek pentēkostē, because is occurs on the fiftieth day after Easter. In the sixth and final talk in her series Dare to Dance Again, Rev. Joanne tells us that Pentecost was one of three Jewish holidays related to harvest, and occurred on the fiftieth day following the second day of Passover. As we read in the Book of Acts, it was for this holiday that the Disciples were gathered together:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Acts 2:1-6
This story in Acts is a completion of the story of the Tower of Babel we read in the Book of Genesis. Humans had attempted to build a tower tall enough to reach heaven. Displeased, God confused the language of the people so that they could no longer understand one another. In the Pentecost story, the Spirit of God has allowed everyone to once again understand each other.
The daughter of immigrants from the Netherlands, as a youth Rev. Joanne visited relatives in her parents’ home country, unaccompanied by her parents. Knowing only some of the language, she relied on other forms of universal non-verbal communication – a smile, an outreached hand, a kind gesture. She says that imagines that this was what the disciples were reaching out to in their Pentecost experience, the language of love that speaks regardless of physical language, but that we can come together heart to heart as one.
Unity tells us about the Holy Spirit. Rev. Joanne explains that the Holy Spirit is our Fifth Principle. She says that even if we know the other four, unless we put those principles to practice the Spirit has not moved through.
- God is all there is and present everywhere. This is the force of love and wisdom that underlies all of existence.
- Human beings are divine at their core and therefore inherently good.
- Thoughts have creative power to determine events and attract experiences.
- Prayer and meditation keep us aligned with the one great power in the universe.
- It is not enough to understand spiritual teachings. We must live the Truth we know.
Spirit is the very breath of God. From the Latin - spiritus, a breathing (respiration, and of the wind), breath; breath of God. Unity explains Spirit:
Breath of the Almighty
The Holy Spirit within you is the breath of your life, the inspiration of your soul, the light of your way, the revealer of your good. As your breath of life, the Holy Spirit purifies, cleanses, heals, and keeps whole every part of your body. As your soul's inspiration, the Holy Spirit infills you with divine wisdom, true enlightenment, and ever-increasing faith.
As your guiding light, the Holy Spirit illumines your mind, commands your decisions, and moves you to right action in all things that concern you. As the revealer of your good, the Holy Spirit quickens your consciousness of God's never-failing bounty, and blesses you with abundance for every need (Weekly Unity May 2 1971 6).1
Rev. Joanne explains that the Holy Spirit is not an idea we grab hold of in mind, but is a living into the very Truth ideas that we say we believe. It is that within us that allows us to move through each moment with loving grace. It is with this loving grace of the Holy Spirit that Rev. Joanne was moving through the past fourteen months (of the covid situation) that have been so difficult for everyone.
When allowing the Holy Spirit to move in, through and as us, acting with loving grace, it should not matter what others think of what we choose to do, Rev. Joanne says. With public health conditions greatly improving, and social distancing and face mask mandates being lifted on June 2, Unity Spiritual Center will be making the use of face masks optional. There may be those in our community who may wish to continue wearing a mask after that date, but may feel self-conscious or judged for doing so. To help alleviate such feelings, Rev. Joanne has decided that she will continue to wear a mask in support of those who choose to continue doing so.
Each week throughout this series, Rev. Joanne has highlighted an individual who exemplifies the principle we discussed that week. This week, she has chosen our congregant and dear friend Lee Russell, who passed away in a house fire just two days ago. Feeling the shock and pain of sudden loss, Rev. Joanne says that she was “arguing” with God. He was such a good person, why did Lee have to die in this way? He deserved better!
She recalls one of the many conversations she had with Lee about his wife Christine, who passed away from cancer a number of years ago. Lee would ask, did Christine deserve the way she died? Does any of us “deserve” our method of transition from our mortal bodies? His was not a question of anger or blame, rather a rhetorical one, made from a place of the understanding of Truth Principles, knowing that there is no guarantee what the next moment will hold for any of us.
Life can be very random. Rev. Joanne tells us that we sometimes think we have control because we are putting the Unity ideas into practice to create the world we want to see. Yet, a moment can arise that will knock us off center, to suffer, that is difficult. Putting into practice our principles in no way guarantees we will not have such moments. What it does do is give us the strength and power to Dare to Dance anyway. We need only remember that when we have these dark moments, what we are promised is that God is there.
We can know, Rev. Joanne says, that the Holy Spirit that was there in the disciples is already here present, and it demonstrates itself when we act from that place of loving service, compassion, and forgiveness.
Now Go and Be the Light.
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. Ezekiel 37:5
Daring to dance, as we have done through this series, does not mean that all things are OK. We do understand that we have the energy we need to continue the dance of Divine Life. Take time each day to consider the idea that the Holy Spirit is the very breath of God moving in, through and as you. How can you allow the Holy Spirit to move you today? What does it look like to dare to dance the dance of Divine Life with the movement of the Holy Spirit no matter what is occurring around you?