Symbols of the Holy Spirit include wind, a dove and fire. Next Sunday, being the day of Pentecost, the obvious focus for us will be that of fire. In the Book of Acts (2:1-21) we hear the story of the apostles being all together in one place on the day of Pentecost. “Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…”
Those who witness this event surmised that the apostles were drunk, “They are filled with new wine.” So,
Peter stands up and says two things: first, we’re not drunk; secondly, with
Jesus there is salvation.
A quick science lesson: Fire needs three things for ignition; oxygen, fuel
and heat. Remove any one of the three and the fire can be extinguished. Similarly, fire can be intensified by
increasing the presence of two of the three parts (oxygen or fuel), which in
turn will raise the heat.
Air seems to be the best source of oxygen for us. Like God, air is all
around us. The fuel, let’s say oil, is like Jesus Christ the one anointed (with
oil) as our saviour. And the flame, like the Holy Spirit, intensifies with more
air (God) and oil (Jesus).
This year on the day of Pentecost, we will not only use fire as a
symbol of the Holy Spirit, we will celebrate the fuel. Everyone will be invited
to receive an anointing with holy oil, a sign that the power of God’s spirit
will rest on each of us. It will be a sign of our acceptance and adoption. It
will be a sign of God equipping and empowering us for ministry. It will be
another step on our faith journey to be further formed in the likeness of
Christ, so that we will witness God’s astonishing love, and that we may be
filled with life in all its fullness.