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Glimpses of Grace: Pentecost—Wind and Fire

Acts 2: 1-21

The manse in our first call was a roomy ranch-style home that sat on 3 acres, 3 miles outside of a town of 350 people in Warren County, Illinois. We had a vegetable garden on the west side of the yard. Under two large acorn trees wild asparagus grew in the spring. It was the first time I had ever eaten asparagus.

Wanting to fully embrace the rural America lifestyle we noticed that many people “burned off” their gardens in the fall. One afternoon we decided to burn off our garden. We pulled out our 250 feet of garden hose and set fire to the garden. Before long we heard the crackling of dried plants as ghostly smoke rose into the air.

After a few minutes the fire took an unexpected turn as a north wind suddenly swept in. The fire grew in intensity. Sparks began to float toward a dry cornfield waiting to be harvested. My wife manned the garden hose while I ran from spark to spark stomping out little fires. All the while I couldn’t help but to think of what people would say if the cornfield went ablaze. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been kind.

Fortunately the corn field field didn’t go up in smoke. We put the fire out. I learned, though, that wind and fire are a dangerous combination. They are dangerous because you cannot control them. They have a mind of their own. They can destroy, but they can also bring about new beginnings.

Pentecost is a sign of new beginnings. On the day of Pentecost, our lesson says, when the faithful were gathered together in one place, a sound like a mighty wind swept through the place and tongues like fire danced above the disciples heads. Each were able to speak in new tongues, new ways that they never had before. And all the people from the corners of the known world heard about God’s amazing love in their own native tongue.

Pentecost destroyed the barriers that divided one from another. Our challenge as followers of Jesus is to embrace the wind and the fire of Pentecost as it carries us to continue to break through the barriers that separate.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. May the flames of Pentecost set my heart on fire to do Your will. May the winds of Pentecost carry me to work in Your Kingdom. Amen.

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