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The Third Week of May

We Read…

In these four scriptures, we read about the Holy Spirit's promise, fulfillment, and role. In Psalm 104, we are reminded that the Spirit of God, hovering over the waters of chaos in Genesis, continues to sustain all creation in love. Verse 30 highlights that the Spirit, or breath of God, is life giving and redemptive, not just for the human race but for all of creation. 

As we move into the Gospel of John, we see the promise of the Holy Spirit. Jesus even tells them that it is best that he leaves so that the Holy Spirit can come. Jesus highlights several different roles that the Spirit will fulfill in the world, including the term Advocate, which can also be translated as comforter, encourager, or counselor. 

Our text then moves into the book of Acts, and we see the powerful coming of the Spirit to the disciples. As the disciples began preaching and prophesying, the multi-ethnic crowd each heard the gospel in their heart language. As in the Psalm, the movement and invitation of the Spirit was not isolated to one particular ethnicity or gender but was poured out “upon all people” (Acts 2:17, Joel 2:28) so that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21, Joel 2:32). 

Finally, Paul speaks in Romans of the role of the Spirit in the Already-Not-Yet Kingdom. While the Spirit has been given as a foretaste of glory, beginning the work of redemption in our world, the Holy Spirit also groans with us in our suffering and inabilities and brings the cries of our hearts to the Father. 

As you read, write down all the activities the Spirit is responsible for doing. 

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

    24 LORD, you have done so many things! 

     You made them all so wisely! 

    The earth is full of your creations! 

    25 And then there’s the sea, wide and deep, 

     with its countless creatures— 

     living things both small and large. 

    26 There go the ships on it, 

     and Leviathan, which you made, 

      plays in it! 

    27 All your creations wait for you 

     to give them their food on time. 

    28 When you give it to them, 

     they gather it up; 

     when you open your hand, 

      they are filled completely full! 

    29 But when you hide your face, 

     they are terrified; 

     when you take away their breath, 

     they die and return to dust. 

    30 When you let loose your breath, 

     they are created, 

     and you make the surface of the 

      ground brand-new again. 

    31 Let the LORD’s glory last forever! 

     Let the LORD rejoice in all he has made! 

    32 He has only to look at the earth, 

     and it shakes. 

     God just touches the mountains, 

      and they erupt in smoke. 

    33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; 

     I will sing praises to my God 

      while I’m still alive. 

    34 Let my praise be pleasing to him; 

     I’m rejoicing in the LORD! 

    35  But let my whole being bless the LORD! 

     Praise the LORD!

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

26 “When the Companion comes, whom I will send from the Father—the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 You will testify too, because you have been with me from the beginning. 

“I didn’t say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I go away to the one who sent me. None of you ask me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Yet because I have said these things to you, you are filled with sorrow. 7 I assure you that it is better for you that I go away. If I don’t go away, the Companion won’t come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will show the world it was wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment. 9 He will show the world it was wrong about sin because they don’t believe in me. 10 He will show the world it was wrong about righteousness because I’m going to the Father and you won’t see me anymore. 11 He will show the world it was wrong about judgment because this world’s ruler stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, but you can’t handle it now. 13 However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you in all truth. He won’t speak on his own, but will say whatever he hears and will proclaim to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and proclaim it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine. That’s why I said that the Spirit takes what is mine and will proclaim it to you.

Acts 2:1-21

When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak. 

5 There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. 7 They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? 8 How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” 12 They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?” 13 Others jeered at them, saying, “They’re full of new wine!” 

14 Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared, “Judeans and everyone living in Jerusalem! Know this! Listen carefully to my words! 15 These people aren’t drunk, as you suspect; after all, it’s only nine o’clock in the morning! 16 Rather, this is what was spoken through 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 will see visions. 

     Your elders will dream dreams. 

     18 Even upon my servants, men and women, 

      I will pour out my Spirit in those days, 

      and they will prophesy. 

    19 I will cause wonders to occur in the 

     heavens above 

     and signs on the earth below, 

      blood and fire and a cloud of smoke. 

    20 The sun will be changed into darkness, 

     and the moon will be changed into blood, 

      before the great and spectacular day of 

       the Lord comes. 

    21 And everyone who calls on the name of the 

     Lord will be saved.

Romans 8:22-27

22 We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. 23 And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. 24 We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? 25 But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience. 

26 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. 27 The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will.

We Think…

  • What stands out to you in these verses? Does anything confuse you or not make sense?

  • How do these verses compare to your own experience in life or the church? What are you considering? What questions come to mind? 

  • I have often wished that I had lived during the time of the disciples so that I could have walked physically with Jesus, yet in our gospel reading, Jesus says he should leave so that the Spirit can be sent. How have we, as a church, or you taken advantage of the gift that is the Holy Spirit? 

  • As you look over the list of actions the Holy Spirit does, which ones are we as Christians invited to participate in, and which, if any, are we merely recipients of? (For example, what is our role in conviction? Are we invited into that conviction of the world of sin (John 16:8), or are we to trust the Spirit to convict without our help?) 

We Feel…