The Big Windburn
May 31, 2022
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 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….
This Sunday is Pentecost. The story of Pentecost is a bit confusing. One year on Pentecost, I asked a four-year-old to tell me about the story they heard that morning in Sunday School. This is the conversation we had:
Me: Did you hear a story this morning?
Me: What was the story?
4-Year-Old: There was a big windburn!
Me: A windburn!?
4-Year-Old: Yes! And all the scouts were there and they got scared.
Me: The scouts?
4-Year-Old: Yes. It gave them nightmares!
Well, she was pretty close. What does this confusing story of Jesus’ followers hearing a rush of wind, seeing flames, and speaking other languages mean? Each time I return to this story, year after year, I find something new. This year, I recognize that even though the story may sound scary, as it did to that four-year-old, the chaos of the story was simply a wake-up call. The disciples were huddled in a room, turned inward on themselves. They were probably spending some time getting to know the newest disciple who had only just been chosen. They were probably wondering how long it would be before they knew God’s presence among them again after Jesus had gone. They were probably simply wondering what it meant to be apostles of Jesus when Jesus was nowhere to be found. And then, a wake-up call came—a wind so strong it pushed them out of their huddle and into the streets in and among the people, speaking their language. The scary “big windburn” wasn’t so scary after all. It brought them to a place of understanding with those they had never understood. It created a moment of unity and joy.
May the Spirit offer us a wake-up call this year. May we find ourselves pushed out into a new world of understanding. May that wind carry us away and in so doing, somehow bring us closer together. Amen.