Since the days of Genesis and Exodus, since the time of the oral tradition concerning the God the Hebrew people worshiped, it has been said and understood: No one can see the face of God, for they will surely die.
But God is there, God is with us, God is apparent, God is real, God lives, and God speaks to us limited human creatures through His own Holy Spirit; and He speaks directly, succinctly, and purposefully, through that same spirit. This is the belief of the community called Christianity; and it is manifested each year on the Day of Pentecost; and it is good.
That was a special day for the Apostles, a day they awaited. “And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” That Holy Spirit of God, apparent in the strength of the wind, entered their lives and bodies, and took their attention.
“Divided tongues, as of fire appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.” These twelve, these chosen of Jesus, were set upon by the decisive Spirit of God, and power was given to them for the telling of the story of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. They now had the ability of language to share the message of God’s love, and the freedom from the law that it would give for all to live within the bounds of that love.
“All of them were filled with the Holy spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave the ability.” These were unschooled men; fishermen, tax collectors, ordinary men from a rural area to the North, who could now speak and communicate the message God wanted all to hear. To these Apostles there were no longer any barriers to stop their words from telling the story of Jesus, and they spoke.
They spoke to all of the trading community who did business in the active City of Jerusalem, each in their own language. Their facility of speech amazed many of the local residents; some of them even said they were probably drunk, filled with new wine.
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice, “These are not drunk as you suppose, for it is only 9 o’clock in the morning ...” and he recited to them the words of the prophet Joel, who said “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”
And the Holy Spirit of God, that moved with wind and fire among the Apostles continues to bring the message of Jesus love for mankind to all of us, even to this day. AMEN
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.