Going for a bike ride. It’s something that I haven’t done for a long while. A few weeks ago, on a beautiful Saturdayafternoon, I decided to dust off my TREK hybrid 21 speed and to take it for a spin. The “spin” eventually turned into a 15 km, two-hour workout. The further I went, the more I wanted. Cycling along the busy highway, I eventually found myself off road on a lovely backwoods trail. It was fantastic: the warm wind blowing against my face, the smell of fresh air fragranced by flowers in bloom, the serenity of the woods and, of course, close-up views of the occasional duck-crossing or deer-grazing. On my way home, at that point peddling in slow motion, I came across a friend working on his front lawn. I stopped, conversed for a while and then resumed peddling toward home.
Spending most of my travel time getting from “point A to point B” in the jungle of auto traffic, I had forgotten what the bike experience provides: a sense of freedom, a greater awareness of the beautiful surroundings, and the incentive to slow down in order to engage with people.
This is the essence of Pentecost. Fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, when the breath of God’s Spirit fell upon the disciples in Jerusalem, their journey would not be the same. Moving forward into the world, with the wind of the Spirit on their faces and in their hearts, they would know a freedom like never before – to love, serve and proclaim Jesus Christ risen from the dead. Sensitized and empowered by the Spirit, Jesus’ followers in the days of the early church were able to see things differently. People and their needs would become more visible, opportunities once missed out of fear would become occasions of wonderful faith. Peter would notice and heal a lame man (Acts 3:1-11); Paul would cast out an evil spirit (Acts 16:16-18); and Silas and Peter would see prison doors flung wide open (Acts 16:25-26). Life in the Spirit encounters things like never before.
And so it is for Jesus’ disciples today. Those who see things differently by the Spirit are able to perceive opportunities for God’s kingdom work, great and small, and have a holy boldness to let go of fear and, by faith, accomplish what we never thought possible bringing glory to the Lord Jesus.
I believe Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus is his prayer for us today:
I ask—ask the God of our
Master, Jesus Christ, the
God of glory—to make you
intelligent and discerning in
knowing him personally,
your eyes focused and clear,
so that you can see exactly
what it is he is calling you to
do, grasp the immensity of
this glorious way of life he
has for his followers, oh, the
utter extravagance of his
work in us who
trust him—endless energy,
Ephesians 1:16-18 (The Message)