Sermon reflection: Ellendale H.’s sermon on Pentecost

By Jennifer B.

I was reflecting on Ellendale’s sermon on Pentecost Sunday when she spoke about how much the Holy Spirit means to her. That really resonated with me, especially after such a difficult week, when it feels like the world is burning, figuratively and literally. She said He is often referred to as the forgotten member of the Trinity. I realized that I am guilty, if not of forgetting Him, of taking Him for granted. Because I know He is always there quietly inside, He becomes like a background process on my computer running without user intervention.

However, it is not meant to be that way. As Ellendale said, Paul instructed us to “be being filled” with the Holy Spirit. It is a continuous pattern of being filled. I suppose that is why Jesus, in John 7:38, described the Spirit as “rivers of living water,” constantly flowing and filling us again and again. I should be constantly praying, seeking His presence, and being filled.

When I think about the Holy Spirit, the KJV version of John 4:16 comes to mind. (Yes, I know it is not the most accurate translation.) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. My inclination is to think of the Holy Spirit as a comforter. That is what He has been to me when I feel, afraid, hopeless, or invisible.

On this Day of Pentecost, I have been remembering some of my experiences with the Holy Spirit and how He has ministered to me. I hope they will encourage you to allow Him to continually make you full.

When someone at St. John’s prayed for me, and I felt the Spirit passing between us like sparks of static electricity.

The many times He has spoken to me through a fellow believer, words that were exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right moment.

At one of my lowest points, after months of being in constant pain, I finally broke down and cried, “Lord, why do you want me to hurt?” Then, I heard His voice, that gentle whisper from deep inside, saying, “I don’t want you to hurt.” All at once, every nerve in my body quieted, and, for a short time, I was completely free of pain. It was God’s way of reassuring me that He sees, hears, understands, and loves me.

And here we are, facing another day of peaceful protests hijacked by anarchists, opportunistic looters, and White supremacists hoping to start a race war. After watching and discussing last night’s film, Emanuel, I felt overwhelmed by the seeming impossibility of healing the deep divisions in this nation. As a wise friend said, “…it is impossible, but God can do impossible things.” Thank God for sending us the Holy Spirit to comfort us, empower us, and fill us over and over again.  

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