A sudden, loud noise can scare us. It gives rise to the basic instinct of fight or flight and is perhaps a contributing factor that allowed us (homo sapiens) the time to come down from the trees and evolve. At least evolve to the point when another sudden noise simply makes us want to jump back into the nearest tree.
Fear is a powerful force; it can paralyze us or enable us to achievements previously thought impossible. Those who witnessed the events in Jerusalem that morning on the Day of Pentecost were amazed and astonished because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Uncontrolled wind and fire are surely enough to amaze, astonish and scare even the bravest amongst us. But there was no wind or fire that day; it was just the Holy Spirit acting as unpredictably as wind and fire.
Any force that is out of control tends to scare us, even if this uncontrolled force is God’s good and merciful Spirit. The ability to control agents of the divine remains, after all, beyond that of the hominids known as the human species.
If I had been there that Pentecost morning I would have instinctually wanted to flee. If something about the Holy Spirit caused me to stay and witness I would have been truly blessed. What the Holy Spirit did that day is wonderful. We have to bask in the glory of a magnificent story told in the Book of the Acts, but essentially the happenings of that day created clarity. No one was drunk. There was simple clarity. The Holy Spirit caused people to speak with clarity and for others to understand with clarity. Prejudice of nations and languages disappeared and God’s message of love and mercy were given and received.
I don’t know where the Holy Spirit will lead us. The Holy Spirit (like wind and fire) is unpredictable, amazing and astonishing. The Holy Spirit has all the qualities that scare us poor humans. We can flee or we can embrace the fact of God’s presence and direction. Embrace the Holy Spirit.