In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
It strikes me that, first of all, the Holy Spirit does not discriminate, and, secondly, Joel shares some pretty amazing things that God the Spirit enables us to experience. Sons and daughters will prophesy and old men shall dream dreams, the Spirit is poured out upon all flesh. Because we live after Pentecost, we have no excuses for why we do not share the Word of God with others. We have no excuses as to why we are unable to see God’s vision for this world and we have no excuse as to why we sit around with a narrow view of the world. God the Spirit causes us to dream dreams, see-visions, and prophesy. The Holy Spirit shapes us and molds us, pushes us and prods us to become more like Christ.
While in Divinity School one of my favorite books became St. Basil the Great’s, On the Holy Spirit. In his treatise, Basil is defending the divinity of the Holy Spirit against a group of folks, the Arians, who do not believe that the Holy Spirit is fully divine like God the Father and God the Son. Most protestant denominations affirm the divinity of the Holy Spirit and profess that the Holy Spirit is God. Basil asserts that if any member of the Trinity, especially the Holy Spirit, is neglected in any way then the efficacy of the Church will suffer.
Basil asks, “What makes us Christians?” His answer is the “regenerating grace of baptism.” Baptism is accomplished through the ‘Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;’ therefore, salvation also comes through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. According to Basil, all Christians must admit the role of the Holy Spirit in the act of salvation as part of the Trinitarian God; it is impossible to separate salvation from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is to be worshiped with the Father and the Son. Because the Spirit is Lord, just as Father and Son are Lord, she is worthy of praise and glory.
The first calling of the Church is to spread the ‘Good News’ of grace found in the Gospels. Moreover, each time someone accepts the grace given by God the Father, through God the Son, which is perfected by God the Holy Spirit, she is baptized into the Church and her salvation is completed. If the Holy Spirit is not recognized as deity, then the salvific act of baptism can only be seen as, at best, very similar to pagan practices that any Christian would deem insignificant in relation to salvation. Therefore, it is only right that as Christians we acknowledge and accept the deity of the Holy Spirit, so that the salvific act of baptism is not viewed as insignificant by Christian and non-Christian alike. Christian ministry is contingent upon the idea of sharing the grace of God that leads to repentance and justification; thus, the deity of the Holy Spirit must be affirmed so that the act of salvation through baptism is untainted.
Sometimes, Christians have the tendency to emphasize worship of one person of the Trinity over another person of the Trinity. Shoot, this week is Pentecost and it is easy to emphasize the Holy Spirit, but last week was Ascension and it was easy to emphasize Jesus. Basil reminds us that all three persons of the Trinity are God and all three persons deserve equal worship. And, although our Acts passage appears to emphasize the Spirit, I think it is probably true that without God the Father and God the Son we will be unable to prophesy or dream dreams.
 St. Basil the Great. On The Holy Spirit. (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY; 1980) 46.
 St. Basil the Great. On The Holy Spirit. (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY; 1980) 46
 St. Basil the Great. On The Holy Spirit. (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY; 1980) 86