Pentecost and Memorial Day weave together in the month of May. Both are stories of power, strength and love.
In Acts 2:1-21, God pours out His power for the use of men and women. It is a gift to be used for salvation and peace in the Lord.
It is hard to imagine, in this day and age, a God who ties love and power together, but God is like that. There are many of us who have seen the power of love overcome great obstacles. Our families may have felt the healing or direction of love.
As we go about our day-to-day lives, it is easy to dismiss the power of love. We live our lives on the run, going here and there, chasing answers to problems of war, homelessness, joblessness and injustices.
While we run, it is hard to catch our breath enough to claim the power of the Spirit in our situations. We fall back on what we know, which falls way short of what we need.
We are surrounded by voices, each giving its take on the problem and offering expected uses of verbal or physical power. We are like the people at the Tower of Babel in the Old Testament; everyone is talking, but we can’t understand each other.
Pentecost continues on in our day, in our lives. It is the power of God active in the world, available, making plans and preparing the way for God’s plan to be carried out through us. Sometimes we listen and act. Oftentimes the world’s answer seems a more immediate solution.
God doesn’t want half our hearts or to be an afterthought. He wants our full commitment, our complete trust that love overcomes all things.
If we look for an example in our world, we might look at those in the military. It takes a complete dedication to the cause, to the others serving with you and to our nation. While there are stories of the rogues that cause harm within the ranks, they are not the norm. Our veterans and those serving now have put their lives on the line, and while it may seem unconnected to love, for most it is closely connected.
It is a love of freedom that brings most to the service. Most that have the power of the rifle at their disposal would prefer to use it in protection rather than attack. Those that must use the military arsenals would want for another way.
But here we are, in many cases where love and power seem at odds.
Pentecost still happens. It is the movement of the Spirit of God to transform our lives, our nation and our world. The Spirit can lead our battles if necessary, and it can redeem our pains beyond the battle fought.
The Spirit was a part of all those we remember this memorial weekend. It is present now, and it moves ahead of us to give us the option of power in love.
May our lives be a witness, a memorial to God’s power and love. May we choose a gentler expression of power as we work together. May love be our power of choice.
(Bonnie Lomen is the pastor at First Lutheran Church.)