Pentecost – Strange Fire and Strange Wind

How strange it must have seemed to the disciples on that Day of Pentecost. They had waited in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit as the risen Christ had told them to do. For ten days, they waited and prayed. Then, on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came. It came with a demonstration of fire that didn’t burn and the sound of a strong wind. Suddenly, they began speaking in languages they had never known or spoken before.

How strange it must have seemed to the crowds in the street who had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Day of Pentecost. Off over there was someone speaking in the native language understood by people from one place. Over here was someone speaking in another native language understood by others from another place. People speaking in different languages, all extolling the mighty works of God. Some in the crowd were amazed. Others sneered and said they’re all drunk.

The coming of the Holy Spirit to empower and lead the first disciples seemed strange and marvelous, as the book of Acts tells us. The leading of the Holy Spirit in our time can seem the same way. We experience the Holy Spirit in different ways. As the scriptures tell us, there are times we are so overwhelmed that we don’t even have the words to take to God. In those times, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, communicating with God our needs and desires through our sighs and confusion. I’ll bet you have had that experience. The scriptures tell us of an inner voice that directs us and guides us at important times. I’ll bet you have had that experience, too. The scriptures tell us the Holy Spirit opens and closes doors so that God’s purposes might be fulfilled in our lives and in the church. I know you have had that experience.

In Isaiah 30:20-21, at a time of confusion and despair, the prophet Isaiah told God’s people that a teacher would come so that if you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you say, “this is the way, walk ye in it.” The Holy Spirit has come to speak for us, to guide us and to teach us. Let us walk in the way.