When I was a university chaplain many years ago we had a very small prayer group that used to meet in the chapel of our building. After a few months we felt it was right to run our 'Life in the Spirit' seminars. The posters went up and on the first night we sat and waited for people to turn up. Pretty soon there were about 50 people there – of faith and no faith – and the discussions were lively as together we explored the Gospel message.
When it came to the evening for prayer for more of the Spirit in our lives, I really wondered who would turn up. There had been some scepticism the week before so I was surprised when everybody arrived and the prayer took place. The week after, one girl said to me that she felt as though she had a party going on within her. I met her again recently, 20-plus years later, and she said: "The party's still going on."
I wonder how many of us really want the Spirit working in our lives. This revelation of God cannot be controlled or quantified, so how willing are we to let the Spirit loose? There is a fundamental question of whether we are prepared to pay the cost of being set free, because it is costly. It invites us to give our lives into God's hands and respond to what God wants to do in us and through us. That can only really happen when we have been overwhelmed by God's Spirit.
After the Pentecost experience in Acts 2, Peter stands up and proclaims the risen Jesus, reminding us that Jesus is the Lord and Christ. After the cure of the lame man, Peter again takes the opportunity to proclaim who Jesus is. In chapter 3:15 he calls Jesus the "prince of life". In chapter 4 we find John and Peter before the Sanhedrin reminding them of who Jesus is. It is interesting how often, after Pentecost, the first disciples put themselves in danger to proclaim the message of God's love.
If the reality of God has come alive within us, where do we proclaim the Good News and where are we letting go of our fears to let people know about Jesus? Are we just religious people or are we in love with the living God, telling everyone about that love? Pentecost does not have to be an empty ritual. If you want faith to come alive and to live in the power of the Spirit – if you want to be a fearless proclaimer of the risen Lord – then ask for the Spirit to be unleashed in your life and God will most surely answer.