The Day of Pentecost, the followers were gathered together when “suddenly.” After waiting from Ascension to Pentecost, celebrated by 40 days in our Christian calendar, the followers experienced the promised Holy Spirit.
We understand waiting. We wait for the baby, about 9 months. We wait for the war in Ukraine to end. We wait for Christmas. We wait to see if the chemo is going to work. Suddenly something happens that changes everything. On Pentecost, suddenly there was the blowing of a violent wind, the appearance of what looked like tongues of fire on heads, and the followers were somehow enabled to speak languages previously foreign to them. Suddenly something happens that makes us aware that our waiting is over. Perhaps the contractions begin. Perhaps the organist starts playing the chosen wedding song. Perhaps the doctor enters into the waiting room. The unexpected signals we are about to enter an “experience.”
Many theologians through the centuries have written about the meaning of the wind, the flames, and the languages. But as I read this passage as a spiritual formation experience that is meaningful to me, here, today, I ponder what are the signals to my soul that I am in the presence of the Holy, that I am standing on holy ground? Few of us have seen flames on heads but we have felt the tingle of our nerves, the sudden rush of warmth, the catch of our breath as we observe a sunrise or a sunset. We realize we are standing in a special four dimensional moment and are experiencing something special.
The crowd was confused. Some thought the followers were drunk. Some were totally amazed to be hearing their own language, to feel like God was speaking personally to them. Even so today. We have a spiritual experience and some people’s eyes glaze over and think we’ve drunk too much. It makes no sense. For some of us, we feel a deep sense of being understood as if God is speaking in our heart language. The door opens to something new that is about to happen in our lives.
So what primes your pump, clues you in, that you are in the presence of the holy? Ideas might enter that you know are not your own? Music moves you deep in your gut? A verse in a passage jumps off the page into your attention? The pastor seems to be speaking just to you..
Spend a moment reflecting on special moments in your life identifying the special details. Thank God that the Holy Spirit visits even us today.