Last Sunday night we had quite the wind storm. The wind seemed to howl for hours, nonstop, just blowing furiously and creating that big noise it does when it is as powerful as it was. Some in town had their electricity go out for a short while. There were signs of the wind everywhere--leaves and limbs on the ground to gather and discard, garbage cans knocked over, even a tree here and there that gave way---and its effects were felt all over town. Today, the sun is shining bring the the winds are calm but we still remember what happened last Sunday night because we were part of the experience.
This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. We will read the story from the book of Acts once again as we recall what happened to those who waited expectantly for what God would do for them and with them on that first Pentecost day. They did not know what to expect but their senses were illuminated by the sound of a violent wind that shook the place where they were gathered and their eyes seemed to see things that were not there, tongues of fire above their heads as they began to speak languages they did not know for the benefit of others passing by on the streets outside.
The coming of the Holy Spirit was a new experience for the entire world. God's presence had always been in the world but it was revealed to humans just now and then in the ancient world of the Old Testament to kings and prophets and seekers of God. Then, Jesus Christ entered the world and humans could see another human who demonstrated in the way he lived and spoke what God was about. "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father," Jesus says in the Gospel reading for this Pentecost Sunday. Jesus showed his followers throughout their short endeavor together how much he was like the One who had sent him.
Then, Jesus spoke in the same Gospel reading of the Holy Spirit who would come as Advocate and Teacher to speak to and on behalf of all who needed the Spirit. Those first disciples had little idea of what the coming of the Spirit would mean and what it would be like and perhaps that is why it had to be revealed to them in such a dramatic manner. Wind and fire and foreign languages being spoken by people who had never learned them---all things that revealed to them that this was a new thing that God was doing for humankind. Jesus had returned to be among them but this time he was present in the form of the Spirit who could be everywhere and among everyone at once across the planet.
A new wind blows across the globe every day as those who are attempting to live out the way of life that Jesus taught interact with others in their neighborhoods and in town, country, and farms everywhere. As people see the needs of others and respond to those needs as they can, the Holy Spirit is at work through them to bring about healing, peace, comfort, and renewal. We are the breath of the Holy Spirit at work in the world. We are the ones commissioned to go and teach and bring love and peace where it is needed. We are the ones to speak of God's extravagant love and inclusive acceptance to all who need to hear words of inclusion and forgiveness. We are God's hands and feet at work in the world, empowered and equipped by the Holy Spirit.