Do you ever feel as empty as a TV without power? Like a hollow shell with little inside? Silently we might say to ourselves, ``Is this all there is to life?''
Our natural tendency is to attempt filling the inner emptiness: work longer and harder; fatten our paycheck; spruce up the night-life; hang on a numbing buzz; surround ourselves with things we don't really need and rarely end up using; and looking for others to fill our empty cup of life. Our attempts to fill the emptiness may last a few moments, a few days, or at best a few weeks! But then we are back to where we started. ``Is this all there is to life?''
A thousand ``no's!'' There is good news. Life can be so much more! We may choose to deny God, but in fact He made us. We are unable to fill our inner emptiness, other than for a fleeting moment. Only God can fill it on a lasting basis. This He longs to do. For this reason God the Father sent Jesus, who came saying: `I came that they may have life and have it abundantly'' (John 10:10). He was not talking about religion that somehow attempts to scale the mountain of God into his presence. He was not talking about a code of conduct that somehow makes us right with our Maker. He was talking about a personal, living, vital relationship by which He invites each of us unto Himself. This connectedness is that for which our deepest caverns yearn.
The depth of God's love and forgiveness for each person is seen in the stark reality of the Cross. We no longer have to live under the crushing weight of our own failure and the missing mark of life. The penalty of our sin has already been paid. We can turn our haunting past over to Christ and receive his forgiveness. The triumph of Christ over all that enslaves us is seen in the empty tomb of Easter. The Cross combined with Easter becomes our statue of liberty. But there is yet more! God offers His very Spirit to indwell us to fill our inner emptiness on a lasting basis. I've experienced this in my own life. I know it's true. Religion doesn't cut it, but a relationship with Christ does.
Pentecost, this year on June 11, is the celebration of God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit, coming upon ordinary people like you and me, and filling their inner emptiness to overflowing joy, purpose and life itself. These ordinary people, now alive with the Spirit, went out into an inwardly hungry, outwardly hostile world and shared God's lavish Gift for our human emptiness. This year, may each of us celebrate Pentecost, not simply as an event in history, but through a living relationship which God offers today. May our heartfelt prayer be: ``Come Holy Spirit come.''
Dr. Paul D. Beran is pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church.