The First Pentecost: A Wild Time Was Had by All

by Melannie Svoboda SND on May 14, 2018

The first Pentecost was anything but a tame event. The winds howled, the walls rattled, the earth shook. What’s more, “tongues of fire” descended upon everyone huddled in that upper room. Clearly the Holy Spirit came not as a gentle breeze, but more as a hurricane or earthquake.

The disciples too seemed filled with this “untamed power” of God. They didn’t leisurely saunter out of the upper room that day. No, they were almost catapulted out the doors and into the streets. Once outside, they began speaking with such joy and enthusiasm that some of the bystanders thought they were drunk. The effect of their preaching was also wildly amazing: 3,000 individuals converted to the gospel in a single day!

 

The story of the first Pentecost raises some questions for us. First, do we appreciate God’s wildness? Do we appreciate the wildness of God’s love that created the cosmos in the first place? How wild is the universe? Try to count the stars… gaze at and smell a peony… listen to the Cardinal’s song… look for deer in the park… stroll along a shore. Do we appreciate the wildness of God that gave us Jesus, God incarnate… The wildness that enabled Jesus to surrender to a cruel death out of love for us. The wildness that caused God to make foolish promises to us like, “I will be with you always”?

The wildness of Pentecost raises another question? Does anything of the wildness of God exist in me? In the name of God or love, what wild things have I done in my life? One of the wildest things I ever did was enter the convent when I was not quite 18. (I hope my wildness didn’t end with that!) Maybe you did a wild thing by getting married and then by wildly welcoming “untamed” children into your life. Or maybe you chose a path in life that put helping others ahead of monetary gain. Actually, anyone trying to live a life of integrity and compassion and unselfishness is doing a very wild thing in a world that rewards cunning, has little sympathy for those in need, and is constantly urging us to “Watch out for #1!”

With these thoughts in mind, let us pray this Pentecost Prayer…

Spirit of Pentecost,

We thank you for the wildness of your love.

We thank you for the power, ingenuity, breadth, extravagance, and joy of your untamable love.

Give us a share of your wildness.

Help us to live according to the radical demands of the gospel.

Help us to trust in your promptings, whether they come as a gentle breeze or forceful gale.

May we always be filled with the exuberance of your Spirit

wherever your Holy Winds may take us. Amen.

I chose a song that is lively and a little wild. It’s “Witness” by Jordan Feliz. (I love the “drums” which sound like someone beating garbage cans!) To me, the song says, through all the ups and downs in life, God’s love is gushing all around us. In our life, we have many witnesses to this faith and trust in God. Can we be a witness to others too?

 

 

PS: Please pray for a retreat I will be facilitating at the Sophia Center in Atchison, KS from May 15-20. The theme is “Prayer: Finding God in the Ordinary and the Amazing.” Thank you!

Retreat Cruise: In case you are registering for the Retreat Cruise, be sure to include the following: Host: Svoboda/Sisters of Notre Dame, Host ID #58170. The brochure on this blog page already has this information filled in. Thank you!

Now it’s your turn. Is there anything you’d like to add or comment on? If so, please do below.

 

 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen May 14, 2018 at 5:27 am

What a great comment about the wildness of God! That is a wonderful word as approach Pentecost.

For me, getting me married was a wild step. My husband and I are very different people but our differences can make for one wild ride.

God bless you Sr. Melannie.

Kathleen

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Kathleen Ann Pforr May 14, 2018 at 6:45 am

Thank you for the most beautiful Pentecost Prayer I have ever seen! It really touched my heart and captures the true Spirit of Pentecost! God Bless You!

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Sharon Tressel May 14, 2018 at 7:24 am

I’ve often thought that maybe we should get a little more “wild” in our Eucharistic celebrations. God becoming present is about the most profound, awesome happening I can think of. Yet, a stranger to the faith would probably not even realize there is anything going on. Hopefully, the Incarnation that’s so thrilling as we receive Eucharist on the inside will be wildly present on the outside as we leave the church to live what we have just experienced. I’m reminding myself of this as well.

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Deirdre Lewis May 14, 2018 at 7:29 am

I am profoundly grateful that God “wildly” pushed me into nursing rather than chasing material possessions! At 70 years of age, I can still work part-time, participating in Jesus’ healing mission.

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Joni Dugan May 14, 2018 at 9:20 am

Melannie, I love your description of Pentecost! I love that wildness aspect!
Will keep you in my prayers for the Atchison retreat. I was just up there yesterday at a WILD birthday party. It was great to hear the stories told. I tell you those sisters were WILD in their younger years!! Have a great one.

Joni

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Deb Walsh May 14, 2018 at 9:49 am

Thank you, Sister, for your thoughts on God’s wildness and love! I never thought of some of those things as “wild”, but in today’s measure of things, they are certainly that! Thank you for some insights that lead me to believe I’m a little more “wild” than I had imagined! The prayer is a keeper.

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Jean Canatsey May 14, 2018 at 10:12 am

My marriage at 16 to a 19 year old non-Catholic “boy” (62 years ago) and our acceptance of the 8 children God sent us, was definitely a wild choice and has been a wild ride.
For a individual action though, I’d have to say climbing a forty foot pole (hand over hand) on the Challenge Course at Georgia College & University in Milledgeville, GA at the age of 72 and zip lineing down with my 30+ daughter tops it all! It was a wildly exhilarating experience!

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Shirley May 14, 2018 at 11:28 am

Thank you Sister, this was great! So wish I could hear you at one of your retreats. You are such an inspiration! I will lift you in prayers for your retreat at Atchison, KS.

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John Hopkins May 14, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Hi Melannie,
When you ask if any of God’s wildness still exist in us, I have to admit that I was much wilder in my youth — at least regarding my spiritual zeal. Or have I just changed with age? Has my zeal been re-directed? Here’s a question: on that first day, 3,000 heard the word and believed. I wonder how many each day hear the word and believe? Will three thousand decide to follow Jesus today? Oh, here’s something wild: my nephew and I walked the Camino for seven days in 2016!

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Michelle May 14, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Beautiful Pentecost Prayer. I just finished a 7 Day Silent Retreat during which I was awakened to the movement of the Holy Spirit within me. I plan on incorporating your prayer into my daily prayer. And, praying it with my older catechism students. I think they would like the “wildness” of it and the song Witness as well. You have such an inspirational blog. I’m so very grateful that you “wildly” decided to minister to us through Sunflower Seeds. I have been reading, laughing, crying, praying and singing with it since your first Monday! Love it!

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Barbie May 14, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Thank you for this wonderful blog and video, Sister Melannie! It fed my soul.

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Lin May 14, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Thanks for the reflection.
I love when the word “wild” is associated with God.

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Jean Canatsey May 14, 2018 at 5:29 pm

I suppose it was a wild thing for a 16 year old Catholic girl to marry a 19 year old non Catholic boy 62 years ago and to willingly accept the eight children that the Lord sent us. It has certainly been a wild ride!
However, I think the single wildest thing I ever did was – at the age of 72 -to climb a 40 ft. pole – hand over hand – on the Challenge Course of Georgia College and University in Millegeville, GA and zip line down with my 33 year old daughter!

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Rosemary LeVoyer May 15, 2018 at 8:43 pm

What a great visual, Dear Sister Melanie ❤️
I get super excited in the Blessings of spring….
Just the smells of Blossoms, especially Lilacs. The Melodies blended by the many birds I am fortunate to have with me daily. My favorite is a tiny Wren, singing his Heart out for a Lady Wren to share his home.
I feel the Spirit all year long but spring is the Standing Ovation!!!
Blessings to you, Dear Friend. ♥️♥️

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Sonya Gonzalez May 16, 2018 at 11:41 am

This was beautiful. Would like to know what church the stained glass window is at? I loved the colors and mosaic design.
SG

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