This year, Pentecost Sunday is June 5th. Considering some recent events and challenges, I have been thinking about the gift and need of the Holy Spirit in our lives and world.
For example, the US continues to see increased gun violence in the evilest ways. There have been more mass shootings in the US than days of the year in 2022. There are also more guns owned by people in the US than even people.
I also just received news that in an Asian country the mission organization I lead (ServeNow), works in, we faced some hostile religious fanatics who did not like that we were working to install three water tanks in a poor village in need. This group was opposed to it because they knew we partner with the local church, and they did not want help from the church.
Then, I think of the Ukraine war and the weariness of that along with funding dropping, even though the needs are increasing, not decreasing. For example, we just re-opened a second safe housing location as people evacuate certain cities still being brutally attacked and need a place to stay. There is fear Russia could be considering and planning to try to take the capital, Kyiv again. This would mean the same towns people are just now returning to and trying to rebuild are at risk all over again.
Next weekend, I will be heading out to Sri Lanka, a small island country that has been collapsing economically, resulting in protests and political turmoil. A humanitarian crisis unfolds as inflation soars and people face possible starvation realities. We have instituted a special plan called “The Joseph Project” to provide families with chickens and cultivate home gardens as the government is warning people could starve otherwise.
I share these examples and could share many more because there are real challenges worldwide and right here in the US. We need the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to overcome and be a true light and witness in this dark and troubled world.
Linked to the promise of the Holy Spirit was a call to prayer. Prayer preceding the coming and empowering of the Holy Spirit reminds us of our need to recognize we cannot possibly do what God has called us to do in our strength or human wisdom. We need God. We need to pray for his help, wisdom, and empowerment. While prayer cannot be a substitute for action and obedience, our efforts and obedience need to be fueled by prayer and dependent upon the Holy Spirit’s enabling presence and power.
This weekend let’s remember our need for the Holy Spirit. We are here to be witnesses of Jesus Christ in all the world. We need the Holy Spirit to actively fill us, empower us, send us out, and provide for all our needs to do all he has called us to do. What is missing in so many of our lives today is a sense of desperate dependency on God that drives us to our knees in prayer and then causes us to rise in his power, with purpose, to confront the challenges we face with divine courage and compassion.