“And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2 NRSV)
Middle school aged youth are my favorite youth to work with. They can be problematic, smelly, loud, fiercely independent, and at times insubordinate. But it is at this age where I see the most growth. I feel it is in middle school where we truly begin to figure out who we are and who God is calling us to be. I caught a glimpse of this when I took my middle school youth group on a mission trip to Austin, TX.
There was a kid I worked with who encompassed all of those negative descriptions I posted above. Sometimes I literally had to DRAG him to do work. While we were at a food pantry/soup kitchen he actively worked to not do anything. He drug his feet. He complained. He hid in the refrigerator.
I got close to being fed up with him and giving in, but then something happened. He actually started working. Actively helping serve the food. Actively engaging with the persons in the food pantry. Actively cleaning up. He even volunteered to pray before we left. I never asked him what changed within him, but I have a feeling it had something to do with the Spirit.
On that Pentecost, the Spirit filled the house the disciples were hunkered down in. The Spirit filled the house, gave them the ability to speak in different languages, and then pushed them out of their house for a time to preach about God’s deeds in the world.
This is not the comforting Spirit we often hear about, but the discomforting one. The one which pushes us into situations we are not comfortable. The Holy Spirit singes the disciples, blows open the windows and doors, and pushes them out into the world.
For that youth, he was thrust into a situation where he was not comfortable. He was having to serve people he’d never met before, in a community he knew nothing about, far away from his comfort zone of Azle, TX. The Spirit put him in a difficult situation (at least for him) and his reaction was to resist for awhile. But eventually, he leaned into what the Spirit was doing and flourished. Sometimes we just have to lean in. Even as a church, sometimes we just have to notice what the Spirit is doing, and simply get on board.
Thanks be to God.