When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
(Common English Bible)
Wind. It’s amazing! You can’t see it coming or going. You don’t know where it has been or where it is going. You can’t even see it while it’s here, but you can see the effects of it.
Many years ago, I lived in California, and as I traveled about in southern California and parts of Arizona, I would see acres and acres of wind turbines harnessing the energy of the wind.
Wind has tremendous energy. Even a little bit of wind can do all kinds of things. A little wind can dry clothes on the clothes line, but a lot of wind will have you chasing your clothes across the neighbor’s yard. A gentle breeze can lift a kite and at the same time, lift the spirits of the smallest child as they delight in seeing the wind at work, but a lot of wind can wreck even large ships and demolish buildings.
Picture yourself in a crowded room with many people going about the daily activities of eating, praying, and talking together, wondering what will be the sign of which Jesus had spoken just before he ascended into heaven.
He had not said what it would be like. He had only said that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit had come.
He had not said it would be loud, he had only said that it would be in a few days. How long would they need to wait? How would they know when it had occurred, this infusion of power? So many questions. And prayer was the only connector between them and God since Jesus was no longer physically with them.
Then it happened. They heard a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind, not the sound of the gentle rustling grass in the middle of a summer afternoon.
This sound was the sound of a tornado shaking the windows and rattling the dishes — a violent, noisy, loud wind and it filled the whole house.
Imagine for a moment, the sound of the loudest tornado you’ve ever been in — like the rattling of the train down here as the railroad thunders down the tracks. That’s the sound they heard that day — the loud thunder of a violent wind.
Notice that the sound first fills the house; then it fills the people. And each person began doing something that had never been done by unlearned Galilean men before — they started sounding like the United Nations — translating into other languages what the Holy Spirit was saying through them so that people from all over came and could understand in their native tongues.
And the people were filled with power to witness. Jesus had told them to be witnesses, and now they were given the power to do just that.
So what does all of this mean to us today?
God is the same yesterday, today and forever. God never changes. The Holy Spirit is still active and present in the lives of every single believer today.
Through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, God gives us the power to be witnesses — to tell others about our experience.
How is God’s Spirit wind blowing in your life today?
Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.