The Holy Spirit Is The Wind Beneath Our Wings
It was fifty days after Easter. The disciples were in the Upper Room waiting for the Holy Spirit to come. Jesus had promised them that they would receive power when the Spirit came, but so far nothing had happened. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine what they would have been thinking…
Their Lord had gone. For three years He had been their source of strength and hope, but now they were on their own. The task is squarely on their shoulders. If the cause of Christ is to prevail and if the work of Christ is to continue, the job is theirs to do. They feel so inadequate, so unprepared, so down-right scared. Here they are waiting for a power they do not understand to fall upon them and they’ve never been very good at waiting anyway. On earlier occasions when Jesus told them to wait, they either, in their impatience, did the wrong thing, or, in their indifference, dropped off to sleep. Now here they are, waiting again—for what, they are not certain—for how long, they do not know.
Simon Peter, impatient and impulsive as always, pacing about the room like a caged lion says: “This waiting is driving me up the wall. How long do we have to hang around here anyway? Let’s either get on with it or forget the whole thing.”
Thomas, with his proclivity toward skepticism piercing through his words, chimes in: “I’ve never seen any Holy Spirit. I don’t even know who or what that is. I mean, how do we know it really exists? I know we can trust our Lord, but suppose we misunderstood Him. We’ve certainly done that often enough.”
Next, Andrew speaks: “I don’t mind trying to be a good Indian, but I’ve never been comfortable trying to be the chief. Jesus called me to follow, not to lead. I’m not cut out for what’s ahead. I’m not wired that way. I could serve the Lord enthusiastically when He was here, telling me what to do. But this is different. He’s not here, and I don’t know what I am supposed to do.”
Then John puts in his two-bits worth: “Look!”, he says. “He told us to wait here. He told us He would send help. I think we can count on that. I must tell you a lot of time has already passed since He gave us that promise, and I guess I too am beginning to wonder.”
Brother James speaks up next: “We’ve been here a long time. Nothing’s happened. Maybe Thomas is right. Maybe it’s over. Maybe we should just face it, accept it, give up and go back to our former jobs.”
Then Peter, whose pacing has become more agitated with each spoken comment, suddenly stops, pounds the table with his fists and cries: “NoI We wait. He told us that the Holy Spirit would come. He has never failed us before. He won’t fail us now. I believe Him and I believe in Him. With all my heart, I believe in Him!”
Everyone in the room froze. Maybe it was the fist on the table. Maybe it was the forceful sound of his voice. Maybe it was the sudden reversal of his feelings, but for whatever reason, everyone stood still and silent. It was then that they heard something—a strange sound way off in the distance becoming louder and louder as it moved toward them—a sound like the rush of a mighty wind. It blew on that place and it blew into that place. The Bible says that in that moment they were filled with the Holy Spirit. In that moment, they received courage and confidence, new strength and new hope, a sense of vision and a sense of purpose in life. Through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit, they were made whole, they were united, and they became the Church of the Living God. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, they were empowered to take up the preaching, teaching, healing, caring ministry of Jesus Christ. Through the uplifting energy of the Holy Spirit, they became the community of love, the fellowship of believers, the family of God, the servants of the Lord. Jesus had made their promise to them, and as is the case with all of Jesus’ promises, He kept it and the world has never been the same since.
Today is Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Church. This day comes along once a year to remind us that as we try to soar in the service of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is the wind beneath our wings. It’s the wind of the Holy Spirit that unites us and empowers us. It’s the wind of the Holy Spirit that inspires us and comforts us and strengthens us. It’s the wind of the Holy Spirit that makes us the church. It’s the wind of the Holy Spirit that makes our communion “holy”. Jesus said: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” He made that promise to His disciples and He kept it. He makes the same promise to us now, and He will keep it. Amen.