John 15:26-27, 16:13-14 (NRSV)
26 "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Acts 2:1-4 (NRSV)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
The Kingdom of God is not going to be
advanced by our churches becoming filled
with people, but by people in our churches
becoming filled with the Holy Spirit
We need the power of the Holy Spirit more than ever. We need the wonder and power of the Holy Spirit's transformative power in our lives and in the church. This past Easter we had a cross at the entrance to the church covered with butterflies made by the children of the church. What an incredible image of what it means to be changed, renewed, and transformed by Christ.
As a child I remember being amazed as a butterfly mysteriously emerged from its cocoon. As an adult, I have a better understanding of the unseen process that took place inside that cocoon many years ago. It's truly amazing that a creepy, crawly, caterpillar could transform inside the cocoon and emerge as a radiant, soaring butterfly.
A caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. A caterpillar must undergo molting and metamorphosis. How ironic that cocoon has come to mean exactly the opposite in today's culture. Sociologist talk of human's cocooning in their homes, dens, and media rooms. We have shut ourselves off from our neighbors and the community by our cocooning behavior. Somehow we feel safe in our cocoons.
But a cocoon isn't safe. A cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all. It's where the caterpillar experiences total chaos, where it rebuilds itself, where it dies to one way of locomotion and life and is born to a new way of living. A cocoon is where a caterpillar allows itself to disintegrate into a blob of gelatinous liquid without structure of identity so that it can emerge with sharped sensory perceptions and breathtaking beauty.
Only in taking the risk of entering that inert gelatinous state can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty. This why the butterfly is an authentic symbol of resurrection. Not because it is cute but because it risks dying to be born to a new life. The power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is the power to take risks. What an incredible risk God took on our behalf through Jesus Christ. The Body of Christ is being challenged once again to risk change so that God's Kingdom might continue into the future. Think about it.