Seven weeks ago, we celebrated Easter, the day of Christ’s defeating death. This Sunday, we celebrate the day the Holy Spirit filled his Followers with the power of God. Both of these days are important Jewish feast days. More to the point, they are powerfully important to the followers of Jesus. Jesus, who arrived in Jerusalem on the day the Passover lambs were to be inspected by the priests. Jesus, who was sacrificed with the Passover lambs. Jesus, who came out of the grave on the day of the First Fruits (the barley harvest). Jesus, who sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples on the day of the First Fruits (the wheat harvest), known as Shavuot, fifty days after Passover.
You will see that each of today’s readings describes the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel and the famous dry bones is much more than reassembling body parts. It reminds us of Genesis 2:7 when God fashioned Man from the earth. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus man became a living being. NJB
There are three different levels of this breath of life. The lowest level is that of plants and animals from bacteria to elephants. We humans have known all of the building blocks of both for nearly a century, but we do not know how to turn those blocks into living creatures. God assembles them and gives them the spark of life.
According to Genesis, God went a step farther with Man by breathing His own Breath into us. We received more than the spark, we also received the essence of God. That is what sets us apart from plants and animals, our oneness with God. We are made in His image.
The third level is seen throughout the Old Testament as well as at Pentecost. The Spirit of God comes to a person with inspiration and power. That is what Paul was writing about when he described our gifts. Each of us is inspired in different ways and given power equal to the task set before us.
Most of us never hear the rushing wind or see the tongues of the Spirit dancing above our heads, nor do we need to. If a task is in front of me and I believe it is something God wants done, I should do it whether I want to or not. God did not ask his Son if he wanted to be tortured to death, or if He did ask, Jesus said yes. Even on the night of his arrest, Jesus was asking for help to go through with the ugly business. How can I do less?
Be righteous and do good.