A storm can change everything.
It doesn’t really matter what kind of disaster we face; be it flood, fire, drought or wind – everything changes as a result. Even in the midst of death, life springs forth. That’s exactly what the Day of Pentecost had in store for the disciples of Jesus Christ. They had gathered in Jerusalem for the festival. The appearances of the Risen Jesus had ended for them. They were still grieving the death of Jesus. And now, to top it all off, as they gathered for prayer – a storm; a mighty wind, followed by fire. Whatever did they do to warrant such things?
It wasn’t, of course, just any wind, nor was it just any fire. This was the breath and spirit of God. Out of the death that they still so keenly felt, new life emerged, and new possibilities became real.
Festivals, like Pentecost are, in part, about celebrating something significant from the past. Originally, Pentecost was a harvest festival and a time to celebrate the redemption of the people. Redemption is about salvation and deliverance from sin. In Jewish tradition, Pentecost was also known as Shavuot, a festival to commemorate the day God gave the Law to the Israelite’s as they gathered at Mount Sinai.
But, if Pentecost is just about the past, be it the giving of the Law or the way in which the disciples experienced the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem all those years ago, we are sorely diminished. Pentecost is about the present and the deep knowledge we have that God continues to inspire us by lighting a fire in our hearts. We may think we’re lost, but the winds of God continue to storm through our lives, and all because God loves us.
Whatever did we do to warrant such love?