On Pentecost people heard the sound of a violent wind that brought change but it was not Mary Poppins! It signaled the Holy Spirit, the breath of God bringing new life. There was a second sign present, though. “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… (Acts 2:3)” Mary Poppins did not come with fire but with an umbrella. And there is a significant story in the Old Testament about Moses. Moses having fled Egypt after killing a man, rebuilt life in the desert – married, had two sons and become a shepherd. One day he saw a burning bush that does not burn up and the voice of God spoke. Fire that does not burn and destroy but brings God who speaks into our world. Moses was sent to Egypt to “let my people go!” On Pentecost the followers go into the world and tell people of freedom from sin and separation from God.
Fire gives forth heat and light. I think of children sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and singing. I think of candles lit at Christmas time and our family gathered for worship in the living room. In Kenya we were often without electricity and needed lanterns to see in the evenings. Many people have seasonal depression from not getting enough sunlight in the winter. Heat and light are important for our survival physically and spiritually.
Psalm 119:105 says that God’s “word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” John 14:26 agrees, “ But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” Can you think today of what light, insight, you might need or want from God? Or perhaps you need warmth, love. On Pentecost, God showed that he can reach into our lives to bring fire: warmth, light, and teaching. I love this song that was so popular with my kids. May it bless you today. “Shine, Jesus, Shine”