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The Holy Spirit - Working in Us

Acts 2:1-40 &

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

The end of the school year is full of big emotions for both students and teachers (and even parents)! There’s the feeling of, “Woohoo! School’s out for the summer!” But there’s also the feeling of utter exhaustion (for the teachers at least) as they feel like they have come to the end of a marathon after pouring into their students for an entire school year. There’s joy as everyone looks forward to a break, but also sadness as favorite students move on to the next grade, some families move from the area, and graduates leave for another school. There’s frustration from the teachers about student behaviors in May as the warm weather and anticipation of summer leaves them feeling excitable and restless.

Pentecost falls around this same time of year, and I can’t help but think that many of these big emotions were felt by the disciples. They were joyous for Jesus’ miraculous resurrection on Easter, but perhaps worried that He hadn’t returned yet after his Ascension. They eagerly waited for the Holy Spirit, and then when He arrived, they must have been amazed and perplexed at the sound of rushing wind and tongues of fire. And then imagine the joy and confusion as they started speaking in languages that foreigners could understand! And think of the exhilaration of 3000 baptisms all at once!

Sometimes in feeling all of the emotions, we neglect to ponder the big picture of what’s important, or in all of the bustle, we miss the details. The big picture of our work in Lutheran Schools is to point children and their families to the Gospel of Jesus. Yes, there are nitty-gritty details in our day-to-day teacher lives that are important, but in the end, it is the Gospel of Jesus that is the most important.

I was reminded of this in a recent faculty devotion at our school. A teacher shared that a new student who was not a Christian wrote in his journal all about the importance of faith and declared his faith in God. What a big picture blessing! The teacher mentioned that she had been specifically praying for this child throughout the year and prayed for guidance to use the right words for the child to understand. Like on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit had given this teacher the words to say and had given the child faith in his heart! What a miracle!

In the same manner, our school has seen a steady stream of children and parents get baptized in either our school chapel services or Sunday morning worship services! What an amazing blessing, as the Holy Spirit has come to these children and families! We rejoice with them and are encouraged in our vocations as Lutheran teachers!

But what about those times where the Holy Spirit is working in less obvious ways? Perhaps you haven’t experienced these big “Pentecost” moments recently at your own school or with your own students. That can trigger an emotion of disappointment or discouragement. However, we can still rejoice in this season of Pentecost. We can’t always see the Holy Spirit working in our lives or in the lives of our students and loved ones. But God promises that His word is always working. Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” When times get tough or discouraging, these words are such a comfort. God is working in you and through you when you share His word!

As your classrooms have now emptied for the summer and (maybe) you have a bit more time to sit and ponder, thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit. This same Holy Spirit that came to the disciples on Pentecost is also with you as you teach your students. This same Holy Spirit is with you as you read your Bible, pray, and act as the hands and feet of Jesus both in your vocation as teacher and in your other vocations as mom, dad, son, daughter, husband, wife, etc. He is with us through the big emotions and ups and downs of life. Sometimes we don’t see Him working, sometimes we don’t know He’s working until many years later, and sometimes His work is very obvious in our lives and in the lives of the students. But yes, the Holy Spirit is here. He is working in us and through us. Come, Holy Spirit.

Krista Elliott, St. John’s Lutheran School, Orange, CA


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