Last Sunday, the Church concluded the 50-day Easter season with Pentecost. Pentecost celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit and reminds us that our story isn’t static but dynamic, alive, and unfolding. It reminds us that we are a people marked by both what has happened and what is happening. It reminds us that our primary work isn’t to defend and isolate ourselves from the world around us, but to move into it as ambassadors of hope and reconciliation. In the same way that the disciples moved out from Jerusalem after Pentecost, we are to move out of our places of comfort and complacency as we join God in the world he is making.
We are no longer captive to fear, but enlivened by our freedom: freedom to love the outcast. Freedom to listen to those we disagree with. Freedom share tables with those of different faith traditions. Freedom to encounter violence with creative alternatives. Freedom to love our enemies.
We don’t have to fear what “bad” might rub off on us. Instead, we live in the freedom to move forward with both humility and confidence that the Holy Spirit does her best work when we intentionally move into the places she is already present.
Often, those people and places don’t fit into any of our tidy categories. Whether hanging out with friends in my gay basketball league, discussing the reality of God around a backyard bonfire in the West Bank with a collection of Christians and Muslims working for peace, sharing an Iftar meal with my Muslim neighbors during Ramadan or helping my undocumented neighbor sort through my recycling, I am more convinced than ever that the Holy Spirit was already present — she just needed me, and the church as a whole, to join in the work already underway.
If we are content sticking around the comfort and certainty of Jerusalem, our doctrine and dogma will suffice. If we take seriously our call to Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth, then we must embrace the glorious mystery of the Holy Spirit and join her in participating in the healing of a broken world.
Jon Huckins is the Co-Founding Director of The Global Immersion Project, Missional Leadership Coach with Thresholds, family man, speaker & author of Thin Places & Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling.