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Experience the movement of the Holy Spirit

A Lent Reflection for Tuesday, March 19 by Rev. Dawn Holt Lauber


Lectionary reading for 03/19/2024: Psalm 119:9-16; Isaiah 44:1-8; Acts 2:14-24

Selected passage for reflection: Acts 2:14-24 


Read

Acts 2:14-24 NIV

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:


17 “‘In the last days, God says,

    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

    your young men will see visions,

    your old men will dream dreams.

18 Even on my servants, both men and women,

    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

    and they will prophesy.

19 I will show wonders in the heavens above

    and signs on the earth below,

    blood and fire and billows of smoke.

20 The sun will be turned to darkness

    and the moon to blood

    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

21 And everyone who calls

    on the name of the Lord will be saved.’[a]


22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[b] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.


Reflect

The day of Pentecost: the highly sensory event when God poured out His Spirit on all believers and the church began. The crowd gathered in amazement, hearing the disciples proclaim the wonders of God with the words of their own languages. Of course, there were some scoffers – every crowd has them. But it’s ok – necessary and God-redeemed – for the doubters set the stage for Peter to preach to this diverse group of God-fearing people about Jesus of Nazareth. 


Peter speaks from the prophetic words of Joel, who foretold of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that would be unlike anything anyone had experienced before. And on the day of Pentecost, it was. Joel’s proclamation was revolutionary for his listeners – a startling vision of hope for the Israelites still fresh from exile. 


Imagine being there that day when Joel proclaimed this Word from God. You are a daughter in a household of sons, in a culture that focuses on sons. You are an old man thinking you have nothing left to offer the Lord. You are a male or female servant and you have just been elevated by God as an equal to your master to receive God’s Spirit and to prophecy. It’s not about where you fit in society, what language you speak, what level your education is, or your age. Joel’s prophecy revealed a hopeful future when God would rain down His Spirit on all who call on His name, regardless of gender, age, rank, social status: sons, daughters, the old, the young, the rich, the poor. 


Imagine being there the day Peter preached, taking Joel’s prophecy even further: the permanent indwelling of God’s Spirit on all who believe in Jesus Christ, regardless of gender, age, rank, social status, language, or ethnicity. Peter speaks of prophecy, not as predicting the future, but as truth-telling, as a call to prophetic living for the people standing right before him, a call for them to repent and turn to Jesus and begin a new life in Him. 


And it is the call for us here today to proclaim our salvation through Jesus Christ with everything we do, with everything we say, and with everyone we meet – to declare that from this day forward we are changed people because of the Spirit of Christ within us. 


I consider the work of the Holy Spirit in my own life. I am a beneficiary of Joel’s prophecy that includes both sons and daughters. I acknowledge with gratitude how God bestowed His Spirit on me throughout my life - my acceptance of Jesus Christ as a young child, through music, my family, and ultimately His call for me to pastoral ministry. 


I have not always been aware of the nudges of the Spirit, but I look back now and see God’s hand directing/redirecting me throughout my faith journey.  If it is true what Paul says in Ephesians 1:13, that I was included in Christ when I first heard the gospel of salvation, when I first believed the message of truth, and was marked in Christ with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, then the Lord has clearly been speaking to me since childhood - when I first began to follow Him. 


And He is speaking to you - differently than how He spoke to me – but with words that are particular for you and your journey of faith. All believers in Jesus are invited to experience the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives and in the world and to offer a prophetic word of hope and salvation to a weary, waiting world. 


Respond

We are the Spirit-filled believers that Joel longed for in his prophecy. We give thanks for those who heard and trusted God on that day. We, the church, join our Spirit-filled brothers and sisters in Christ from Acts who established the church through faithful obedience. Let us give thanks for God’s invitation to all people: men and women, all ages, every nation, every walk of life, the growth of the church in every corner of this world. Let us be ready to receive again and again the pouring out of the Holy Spirit for growth and revival in our lives. 


Rest

Heavenly Father, we thank You for saving us through the sacrifice of Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, and leaving the Holy Spirit to dwell among us, empowering us to be effective witnesses of the gospel. We offer words of gratitude to God for the gift of His Spirit that guides us, teaches us, redirects us, and comforts us. We ask for tender hearts to hear where the Holy Spirit is leading us today. We pray that we may live by the power of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ, in a new and robust way from this day forward. AMEN.


About the author


Dawn Holt Lauber is an ordained minister with the Evangelical Covenant Church. She has served the church as a worship pastor, chaplain, and (currently) as Pastor of Congregational Life. Dawn is also a singer and songwriter specializing in sacred jazz. She has a new podcast, “Word and Song.” Find her on Apple music, Spotify, YouTube, and other media outlets. 



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