It’s the fiftieth day after Easter and today we celebrate Pentecost. (And, after all these years, I just learned Pentecost means “fiftieth” in Greek.) Today we recall how the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus. As I perused some scripture verses about the Holy Spirit, I noticed a wide variation in personality.
Acts 2:1-4 recounts this most significant of Pentecosts and details both meteorologic and pyromorphic characteristics of the Spirit – “On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit…”
A gentler, albeit more avian quality is described in Matthew 3:16 after Jesus’ baptism – “as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.”
That’s quite a range – windstorm, flames, dove. To me, the Holy Spirit that came on Pentecost to the believers of old – and us followers today – is about action, movement, change. The Spirit didn’t come like a gentle breeze wafting through an open window. But instead, as another translation depicts it, like “a violent wind” – blowing us out of our comfort zones. This has certainly been the case in my life – I guess that’s how I ended up in Liberia.
How is the Spirit working in your life – like a dove, wind, or fire? This Pentecost, thank God for the different personalities of his Spirit and pray for a willingness to head in the direction his “wind” blows you to serve, whether it’s next door or West Africa!