"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. 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 and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability." [Acts 1:2-4, NRSV]
Does this sound like a dignified, orderly event to you? Not a chance! The story of Pentecost is filled with power, motion and even confusion. The Holy Spirit was busting out all over the place. Those first disciples could not have contained it even if they tried.
This is the description of the beginning of the church. So what happened? When did we decide to douse the fire of the Holy Spirit and only allow it to blow though committees, task-forces and the like?
Don't get me wrong, I whole-heartedly believe God uses religious institutions and governing bodies for good. However, it is also true that we Lutherans are sometimes afraid to let the spirit wind blow freely in our midst. We are afraid to try something new, to move in a new direction or to speak with prophetic power against the injustices of our society.
Perhaps the story of Pentecost challenges us to find our "language," to speak our truth so that world may know the love and compassion of Christ in all of its forms. Have you found your voice, yet? Do you feel the Holy Spirit flowing freely in your life?
This week, it is my prayer that the Pentecost story will empower all of God's people to speak a word of grace to those who need it the most. Don't be silent. Find your voice. Embody love, hope, mercy, forgiveness, joy, and peace. The world really needs to receive what you have to offer so don't be an smoldering ember. Be a raging wildfire!