Growing up we had a wrought iron fence around the patio in the back yard. It was a nice looking fence, sturdy and reliable, creating an enclosure and added layer of safety. In order to keep and protect its appearance and function though, every so many years it required maintenance.
I remember the first time I helped my father with this process. Before we could paint, we had to use a wire brush to remove any rust that might have developed in the time since the fence’s last painting. While it may have been easier to just paint over the rust, neglecting to scrape it away and sand it down, would result in the paint breaking off and exposing the fence to further deterioration, in addition to necessitating more frequent painting.
Our lives can be similar to wrought iron fences, in that we also can have spots that are rusty, or things that cause us to shine less brightly than we are capable of… to be less than who we really are and have been created to be.
On the feast of Pentecost, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, the people were gathered together in one place.
In the Old Testament description of the preparation for Pentecost (a.k.a. the Feast of Weeks), it is written:
You shall rejoice in the presence of the LORD, your God, together with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, and the Levite within your gates, as well as the resident alien, the orphan, and the widow among you, in the place which the LORD, your God, will choose as the dwelling place of his name. – Deuteronomy 16:11
And, in the New Testament description of the coming of the Holy Spirit after the Ascension, it is written:
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. – Acts 2:1-3
Part of the preparation to receive the blessings of the feast was gathering together. There was a gathering in the Spirit to receive the Spirit. However, even before this could happen, other things needed to transpire. At the forefront, people needed to make time to prepare. They needed to make time for both themselves and each other as well as for God. In doing so, they were scraped and primed, and ready to be made new by the Holy Spirit.