Neville Callam, General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, gives us this message for the observance of Pentecost:
In his vision of the valley of dry bones, Ezekiel saw human beings whose quest for life and happiness, triumph and joy had come to an end. In a scene of utter ruin, Ezekiel was sure their vitality exhausted and their identity erased, they had encountered the death of hope.
On seeing no way out of the wretched situation, the prophet is arrested by a sense of hopelessness. He is stunned into silence by the scene of indescribable ruin. The question that inevitably arises is this: Is there anyone who is able to visit death with life and to plant hope anew in the wasteland of despair?
Sometimes, we may be tempted to say, “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off” (Ezekiel 37:12). When we face those moments, shall we remember the remarkable change that takes place when the power of God breaks in on human experience?
The proclamation of the word of God opens the way for humans, scattered on the wrecks of time, to find new life and rise from the grave of doom to new heights of joy. Through the word of truth, God rouses us from our despondency and enables us to shake off the shackles of despair. We come to know the transforming power of the one who makes all things new.
This is what happened on the Day of Pentecost. Amidst the jeers of those who did not understand what was happening, a diverse crowd heard the silent whispers of God’s voice in the rattling sound of various languages. Bones came together again; the dead found new life and thousands coming to faith in Jesus Christ were baptized.
Pentecost reminds us that there is no room for hopelessness even when we are stranded on the stormy sea of life and disaster overtakes us. God has a habit of taking dry bones and fashioning from them a new people.
This year, during our observance of Pentecost, may the Holy Spirit breathe upon us and replace desperation with hope, sagging zeal with renewed enthusiasm, death with life.
The Lord whose resurrection we have been celebrating has ascended. Yet, Jesus is alive and, through the Holy Spirit, he is bringing new life to the regions of despair. Where there is death, there is hope!