Acts 2:1-11

1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13

John 20:19-23


Of late, I’ve begun to notice how we all walk a bit differently. It’s not as if I deliberately go around watching how people travel. I don’t. However, as I go on my daily two-mile walk, it takes me through downtown Milwaukee, where I live. It all becomes rather boring, walking the same city blocks day after day. Yet as I do so, I usually find myself behind other walkers, and that is how out of my boredom I’ve happened to notice how everyone has a bit of a twist to this evolutionary talent we call walking upright.

Some walk with legs bowed, others a bit knock-kneed, and yet others sway from side to side. Some toe in and some toe out. Some walk with a hop, some with a shuffle, and some with a bounce (I’ve been told by more folks than I care to count that such is my given knack). Some seem to dance their way down the street, happy to meet the day before them. Others walk with a limp, hobbled by the whatevers of life. There are those few, as well, who seem to swing their leg out just a bit, a sort of mini-arc you would not ordinarily notice unless, of course, you did, and then there are those who have just a wee bit of a pause in the middle of their step, even less than a wee as if to be a stutter. I suppose one could add to all of these those, too, whose walk we would consider to be quite normal, though I’m not quite sure what sort of walking would define such normal.

The amazing thing is that no one ever told each of us how it is that we should carry ourselves. We simply began doing it the way we now do from the day each of us lifted ourselves up from the crawl and into the upright amble.

The point is that, for the most part, it makes little difference how we do it. What is surprising is how much we get done in a lifetime as we do it, each in our own way of moving hither and yon, each with our own style almost like a fingerprint, each of us walking through other people’s lives as well as they through ours.

Some walk through the lives of the suffering ones, gently and without any swagger. They edge their way in, quietly but purposefully, and seem able to lift up those with fumbling steps.

Some walk dutifully and with conviction, undaunted by voices that seek to sway them from what is true and, in doing so, they give the rest of us a vision of where we, too, might go.

Some walk with a courageous step, boldly and intently, and thus from a malaise of clutter they carve a path for justice and compassion, clearing it for those who have no path.

Some walk with a lilt as if their very lives are a song, seeming to sidestep the pains in order to give notice to the bit of joy that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Some walk quietly, shuffling from one lost soul to another, stopping long enough to offer hope before they then move on. They tend to go unnoticed except by those whose lives they seem to make new.

And some seem to the rest of us to walk aimlessly through life, willing to encounter whomever and whatever life may place in their path, yet in doing so they bless all they meet by their presence.

All of this is what we celebrate on this Feast of Pentecost – how the Spirit once walked into our lives, once walked in with rhythm and style and grace, and ever since it has become how we walk into the lives of one another, each in our own way. In doing so, some of us walk hand in hand, and some lead in order to show the way, and yet others of us follow behind encouraging those in front lest they begin to wander or waver.

I’d like to think that all of this was behind St. Paul writing to the folks in Corinth, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit … there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.”

You have to wonder what life would be had the Spirit not been sent.


Which of those suggested ways of walking into others’ lives describes your way of living?

What does “living by the Spirit” mean for you?