Heroism or Harvest

by Rev. Nick Chambers

In what do we rejoice?

We must confront the same question the disciples did when they were first sent to proclaim the kingdom. Especially as we continue to reflect on the mystery of Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we run the risk of fixating on the power of the Spirit and missing the point.

In what do we rejoice?

According to Isaiah it is that "the hand of the Lord is with his servants.” According to the psalmist, it is that God "holds our souls in life and will not allow our feet to slip.” And finally, according to Jesus we rejoice that our "names are written in heaven.” In every case, we rejoice not for what is in our hands but for what is in God’s hands. We rejoice not because of what we can do but because of what God is doing through his Son and Spirit. The power—and all the “awesome” and “wonderful” works—belong to God. We have been made partners and participants in his plan to gather and guide a people.

Appropriately, Pentecost is a harvest festival. With that very metaphor, Jesus reminds his disciples that we are not lone heroes but laborers of the harvest. We must therefore seek to be nourished by the power of the Spirit rather than seeking to “wield" it. Then we can also hear and share the instruction of Paul: “Let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith."