I can’t see the wind, but I see the effects of it.
It’s obvious when a sudden gust blows the branches of the tree in my front yard, bending it with its strength, tossing the leaves aside.
Or when I’m at the beach and a constant breeze off the shore pushes against my clothes. There are times I can spread my arms wide and almost be pushed over by its strength.
Sometimes, the wind is less obvious. It’s faint. Barely noticed. Just the slightest ripple on a lake.
I am drawn to the image of wind because of something that happened fifty days after the first Easter.
Jesus’ friends, those who loved him and were committed to sharing his gospel of peace with the world, had gathered together.
Suddenly, a sound filled the room. One of the disciples, Luke, says it sounded like the gust of a violent wind. It filled the whole house, overwhelming their senses.
With the sound came fire. The fire separated into small bits and rested upon each person in the room.
I imagine all those present were stunned by what they were witnessing. What were they to make of such a display? What did it mean?
What happened next changed the world.
Luke reports that each of them became filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit did not come like a cool breeze on a warm summer day. It was a strong, gushing wind that set loose upon the earth the very presence of God. And it blew the disciples out of Jerusalem, out in the world to preach, teach, baptize and heal.
I can’t see the Holy Spirit, but I can see the effects of the Spirit.
Changed lives. Forgiving hearts. Profound peace.
When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, they are never the same. Suddenly, they are aware of the presence of God in them. No longer will they live only for themselves. Now every choice, every action, every decision, will be given to God as an offering. Indeed, one’s very life becomes an offering.
The wind is still blowing. Do you feel it?
God is still filling God’s people with the Spirit, empowering and equipping them.
On Sunday we are going to celebrate Pentecost.
The word Pentecost is derived from a Greek word that means fifty because this story happened fifty days after Easter. We’ll study the second half of Romans 8. Paul, writing decades after the first Pentecost, explores the significance of the Holy Spirit within the lives of those who follow Jesus.
Here’s one of the things he says about the Spirit that we’ll study on Sunday.
We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
How does the Holy Spirit intercede for us when we don’t know what to pray for? Come on Sunday to find out.
We’ll also celebrate our graduates as we pray them into the next stage of their lives.
Wednesday Night Dinner continues this week and next week before taking a break for the summer.
See you on Sunday!