The Experience of Pentecost

Called "the birthday of the church," it was an experience that turned the disciples into apostles: those who carried the Gospel in their hearts and their lives.

The Scripture

Acts 2:1-21
told by Deborah

The disciples gathered together on Pentecost, a holiday commemorating God’s giving of the Torah to the people of Israel, which was also a celebration of the early summer harvest.

Suddenly there was a sound like an approaching tornado, and it filled the whole house where they were. Flames like fiery tongues appeared and touched each of them. All were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

At that time there were devout Jews from all over the world living in Jerusalem. Hearing this noise a crowd gathered. Amazed and astonished, they asked one another, “If these people are Galileans, how is it that we all understand what they are saying, each of us hearing them in our own language, telling us of God’s glorious works"

It was weird and confusing, and a murmur went through the crowd, “Can there be something in this?” While others sneered, “There’s something in them: a whole lot of sweet wine!”

But Peter stood up with the eleven and called out, “Listen, all of you! It isn’t what you’re thinking: these people aren’t drunk — it’s only nine o'clock in the morning! No, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:

“‘In the last days, says the Lord, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; the young will see visions, the old shall dream dreams. Indeed, I will pour out My Spirit upon My servants, both men and women; and they will prophesy. And I will send forth omens in the heavens above and upon the earth below: blood, and fire, and clouds of smoke. The sun shall grow dark and the moon turned to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord arrives. And it shall be that everyone, whoever it is, who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”

Photo of a flower

~ Reflection ~ by Deborah Beach Giordano

The Experience of Pentecost

All at once

a thundering storm

a thundering storm
as demons
cast into the sea
shrieking for mercy,
shaking the foundations,
breaking the chains,
our complacency;

we trembled

but the Lord was not
in the storm
or in our trembling;


a fiery explosion
as the sun
splitting the sky
fierce flames
devouring the darkness;

we shouted in terror;

but the Lord was not
in the flames
or in our shouting;


after the storm
after the fire
a soft sweet stillness


surpassing all understanding
and yet understood;

mocked and derided
yet cherished;

yet sought after:
a gift
more precious than jewels.


many voices
as birds singing
the dawn;
to every soul,
the universal language
of joy;

heartswe spoke

but the Lord was not
in our words
or in our mouths;

the Lord was
in our hearts. And all who were there

May Christ’s grace and healing love abound,


Suggested Spiritual Exercise

Live in the spirit of Pentecost.

The lectures you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there is no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
    ~ from I’d Rather See a Sermon, by Edgar Guest