In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
Eastertide ends with Pentecost, the sending of the Holy Spirit, full of the sound of rushing wind and flames of fire. The disciples pour out into the streets, speaking in languages they do not know, so that all the ethnically diverse multitudes in Jerusalem that day could understand in their native tongue the goodness of God. And so is inaugurated the age of the Spirit, when dreams and visions pour out not only on a few select prophets, but to young, old, male and female. No longer is age, gender or race a barrier to this gift, the Spirit is available to all.
Just as the Spirit comes to a variety of people, so the ways in which the Spirit is understood are unique and individual. There is no cookie-cutter way to experience the Spirit, no magic formula. But there are ways to discern if the Spirit is at work, if the desires and nudges and sightings are the extension of our own Pentecost.
The language of the Spirit is love, the goal of the Spirit is unity among all creation. When we find ourselves acting out of kindness, experiencing peace, exercising self-restraint, this is an indication of the Spirit at work. When we embrace the freedom of forgiveness, the the sense of vocation, the expansion of our souls, we are living in the Spirit. When we reflect upon our past and see a trajectory that includes healing, growing wisdom and increased power to live out the good, we can affirm Spirit energy.
The Spirit is sent to imagine and empower the forward movement of the kingdom of God; through the Spirit we are issued the invitation and given the ability to participate in the divine community. And though the manifestations of the Spirit are many and unique, each individual flame finds its source in the unquenchable fire of God's love.