We are firmly in the grips of a Southwest Florida summer. It’s ludicrously hot, the humidity is a zillion percent, and you can count on regular rainstorms and power outages.
If your house is anything like mine, power outages are a major inconvenience. The TV, stereo receiver, even the fridge and microwave all click, beep and buzz their way back to life as lights flicker on and off like a scene from Poltergeist.
While I was working at home one day, there were several of these outages in a row. This got me thinking about resets. Since it was just before Pentecost, it occurred to me that in many ways, the Pentecost experience was a global reset of sorts. As I continued down this rabbit hole, I realized that video games are a terrific example of what happens to us when God resets our lives through both Ascension and Pentecost.
I grew up in the 1970s and ‘80s when video games were starting to take root in American culture. I remember my parents dropping me off at the Prien Lake Mall in Lake Charles so my friends and I could spend the afternoon at the arcade trying to beat KJN, whose initials topped everything from Pac-Man to Donkey Kong.
When the Atari 2600 console was released, you could play games in your living room instead of the mall. These games were more complex, took a longer time to complete and didn’t gobble up quarters. And there was an unexpected bonus with single player living room games: you could reset and start again. Technically, I suppose you could restart in the arcade too, every time you lost your last life (think about that metaphor for a moment), but it would cost another quarter--like paying the ferryman to cross the river Styx.
Either way, resetting a game gives us a chance to do a better job. Whatever the goal of the game—finish the race first, survive the longest, solve the most puzzles—resetting allows us to try harder, to be more focused, to accomplish the task at hand at the highest skill level possible by remembering what we did on the previous turn and learning from it (hopefully).
This sort of reset is what the Ascension story is about for us as individuals, and the Pentecost story is about for humanity in general.
Ascension is the goal of our life game: to ascend to the mind and being of Christ. Pentecost is where the Holy Spirit resets thousands of people’s lives, the way God resets our life’s purpose and walks us toward ascension. It’s what we refer to as “a call,” or “inspiration.”
At Pentecost, everyone is reset. There are no more foreign tongues. People are in a frenzy, but perhaps only because they are so much more fully alive, awakened now to a heightened state of being in the universe; a more intimate awareness of God in and through all things. They are more conscious beings, more highly spiritually developed
That’s a powerful reset. A change in consciousness. That’s as big a reset as there is. And it’s delivered through the Holy Spirit, the term our ancestors used when they had an overwhelmingly emotional experience with God.
Admittedly, that sort of awakened wholeness with God is a lofty life goal. Ascension. Even the word sounds lofty and full of itself. But, doesn't life deserve a lofty goal? Don’t we all sense there is a deeper purpose to our lives?
We are living, breathing beings. Yes, we absolutely owe ourselves a more complicated life goal. I think living in step with, in tune with, as close to perfect alignment with God as possible is a much better goal than mere survival. I see harmonic alignment with God as Jesus’ goal. He is and teaches us how to be in complete harmony with the being of God, the will of God, Christ Consciousness, Oneness. He is aware of our perfection from, through and to God, the perfection of the universe.
Ascension shows us the goal of this life game is to be so tuned into God that God’s actions and our own are indistinguishable.
Pentecost shows us that we accomplish ascension through the Holy Spirit (the essence of God that resets our being) that ultimately changes the entire world.
The events at the first Pentecost after Jesus’ ascension are about being reset by God so we can live ascended lives and be examples to others, inspiring them to reset as well. The Holy Spirit that overtakes the crowd and fills them with so much energy that people think they’re drunk at 9am is resetting their life's purpose, and through them, the social, political, and economic structures of the entire world.
Now, nothing these faithful people did in their lives before coming to Pentecost and receiving the Holy Spirit has changed. If they spilled their wine on the way to the traders or overcooked the bread for Sabbath; if they cheated someone out of a few shekels or committed an unspeakable crime, those events will never be forgotten, nor should they be. However, once the Holy Spirit descends upon them, their lives going forward are reset, and their perception of everything past, present, and future changes forever.
What happens at Pentecost is similar to changing the time on a watch. We can move the hands backward or forward, but we're not actually changing time itself. That's impossible. What we're doing is changing our perception of time. That's Pentecost. It changes our perception of why we exist and our expectations about the state of the world.
The Holy Spirit possessing us is a parable about God resetting us so we can get back to the goal of the game of life: To emulate Jesus spiritually, mentally, and physically. When we veer off course, the Holy Spirit leads us back on track by changing our perception and giving us even a few, brief glimpses of the world through God’s eyes.
Reset. If we meditate on the idea of resetting, I think we quickly start to realize how natural resetting is. What are the seasons but nature’s reset? The cycle of birth, life, and death is a reset. Stars going supernova turning into new galaxies, planets, plant, and animals is a reset. And if we believe in eternal life, death is the ultimate reset.
What we must try to remember is that Every reset—past, present, and future; the resets we perceive and those we have yet to discover, inevitably lead us toward an ascended, more Christlike state of being, and then to a much more enlightened, awakened, loving and compassionate world.
May God make it so.