Thursday's Thought for Sunday's Service 

June 1, 2017

Dear Friends,

This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon Acts 2:1-21:

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Acts 2:1–21, NIV)

The Holy Spirit is commonly thought of as the third person of the Trinity.  As the scripture suggests, the Spirit might also be understood as the prime mover in faithful living… and is not easily contained.

Taking a cue from the Pentecost story, we are invited to consider the wind. Beginning from the basis of our contemporary lives, we can define wind by its effects. For example: To see the glory of a golden afternoon sparkling through the trees, as branches and leaves bend and wave from the wind gently moving through them; Or to feel the energizing nature of the wind walking along a shore line, being cooled from a steady breeze blowing in off the lake; Or to hear the immense power of the wind from the flapping of a sail as a spinnaker turns to starboard; Or the rhythmic beat of huge rotating fans each driving a generator mounted on a tall tower, many slowly turning across a wind farm, working in concert to generate power for towns and cities both near and far. 

Now consider the Holy Spirit at work within a person, or greater yet, through the community of the church.  In the initial moments following birth, we take a breath. The first sound we make comes from exhaling over our vocal chords… to cry… indicating that our needs are immediate and demanding.  Over time, with the loving nurture and help of family, we learn to form words and speak to others.  Hopefully, through childhood development, understanding and empathy can be discovered to act in selfless ways.  Throughout life, when we manage to do so, we are revealing a characteristic of the Spirit working within human interaction.

Unfortunately, the words we shape with our breath, tongue, jaw, and lips aren’t always generous or easily spoken in selfless ways.  This might be because the world is filled with many different languages which speak of competing interests.  We grow fearful of not having enough.

Another cue from the scripture shows how the Spirit sparked understanding within a multicultural gathering. Despite differences in language – which too often still cause difficulty, distress, and distance – a life changing revelation gave witness to the breath of the Holy Spirit powering discernment, sparking witness and salvation.  Might it still happen?

    

When we find inadequacy in understanding a foreign phrase

we don’t have to hold on to what was,

we can learn how to appreciate and connect in other ways.

 

God’s love is always inviting, welcoming, encouraging, showing,

and we come to believe this because,

the wind is always freshening, moving, sounding, surrounding… blowing.

 

 

Pastor Richard Wagner