“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” – Acts 2:1-2
For half a day this week, I accompanied Liam’s kindergarten class as a chaperone on their field trip to the Greensboro Science Center. The kids were just so excited — there were peacocks to see, sharks to squeal over, bugs and reptiles and dinosaur bones and jellyfish to capture. Their spirit carried the day until — as kindergarteners are wont to do — they began losing steam just after lunch. While we waited to load the buses, several of his classmates spotted a capsule in the lobby called “Arctic Blast,” where for $2, you could experience one minute of a rushing wind whipping cold and hard in your face. As you might imagine, the kids loved it. Their squeals of abundant delight nearly overtook the sound of such forceful gust. My mind already on Pentecost Sunday, I couldn’t help but note the irony of choosing (and paying!) for wind to whip you around!
Most of us don’t frequent such a capsule or experience the arctic blasts it evokes on the regular, but but oh what lengths to which we go to try and capture the sensation of such movement, such force, such experience! From extreme sports to risky behavior, mind-altering chemicals to mood-altering adulation, we humans can’t help ourselves sometimes. It’s as if we’re straining back in our collective ancient memory for just a fraction of the moment that day when the Spirit poured forth among them and whistled the church into being.
Sometimes we feel the Spirit move in a blast-y, raucous sort of way, filled with that sensation we’re seeking. Other times, the Spirit is gusty and howling, driving us away from or toward the thing we’d rather ignore. Then the Spirit is quieter, subtle and sweeping in her life-breath, beckoning us to ride the ripples of the whisper. But always, always the Spirit is at work — lifting the fallen, wailing with the brokenhearted, unrelenting in her invitation to consider God’s perpetual presence in the world.
That ever-present accompaniment is how I experienced the Spirit this week: binding dear friends ever closer together though miles separate our daily lives, energizing the exuberance of adolescent activity, echoing from peak to peak with the song of creation as voluminous as the view, guiding the ordinary rhythms of each day, stirring a church towards its vibrant future.
Breath, wind, Spirit, God:
All as present as that which we inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
Together in the work of Love,