This week we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, fifty days after Easter, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles, filling them with sudden courage and zeal. Many call this the “birthday of the church” because the church sprang to life—preaching the Good News, performing miracles, growing exponentially. The Spirit is seen as God’s gift to the followers of Jesus Christ, now as then, firing our proclamation and stirring us to action.
But is the Holy Spirit exclusively the gift of the church? Do not those of other faiths also exhibit the same inspiration to speak the truth and to act boldly? Do we not also see God working through civic leaders, artists, workers of charity, and good people everywhere—even those who profess no faith at all?
While the wildfire ravaged the city of Fort McMurray last week, while the first responders were risking their own lives to ensure the safety of others, offers of assistance came flooding in from all sectors and regions of our country, and from beyond. The offers came from Muslims and Sikhs and atheists and agnostics and, yes, from Christians.
It is an extraordinary thing to witness the movement of God’s Spirit in the hearts of people. It fills us with hope and with gratitude. Just as we Christians celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit into our midst at Pentecost, so can we also give thanks for the many ways God breathes life into our world. Together we can say: God lives!