Symbols of the Holy Spirit 3:
This blog has been published out of sequence because the landfall of Hurricane Dorian had occurred in the Bahamas previously that week
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When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Acts 2:1-2 ESVUK
This is another of those symbols that use the word ‘like’ before it. It was not an actual mighty rushing wind, but a sound like one. Just as when the Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove, this was an event so extraordinary, so beyond the experience of the writers, that they had to resort to simile to express it.
Between 2005 and 2012 I worked in the office of a warehouse. The warehouse yard boundary was a canal, and close to that a river, then above that a steep hillside, sheer in places. On that hillside was a tree silhouetted against the sky, bent over by the strong winds which at certain times of the year blew in this place where the valley narrowed. It is the second most scenic view I have ever had at work, the most scenic was the view of the Colne Valley when working in Quality Control at a Huddersfield fireworks factory. I have worked in some beautiful places.
Strong winds can have a dramatic effect, even when it is dead calm. The tree was bent over even when the wind was not blowing. The Holy Spirit is like that. The power of the Holy Spirit is the power that God used to create the universe and is far greater than the power of a wind that can bend a tree on a hillside near Huddersfield.
I’m not going to push this analogy any further; all analogies fall over when pushed too far. The wind that distorts trees works against the tree, the wind of the Holy Spirit that blows on people works with them. The power of the Holy Spirit does not come to those who are not receptive.
The disciples of Jesus were receptive on that first Pentecost, having spent ten days together in fasting and prayer. When the Holy Spirit fell on them it came in such power that the sound of the Spirit coming was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind and drew the people around to form a crowd early in the morning. The disciples were filled with power and spoke other languages, and were emboldened to go out and preach the Gospel accompanied by signs of God’s power.
That same Holy Spirit is available today, providing the power behind the words of preachers and displaying God’s power. The Holy Spirit is in all who follow Jesus Christ, but her* power is only released in those who will allow her and only to the extent that she is allowed to act in your life.
I have heard it asked, ‘How much of the Spirit have you got?’ I think this is a misleading question, the Holy Spirit only comes in one quantity, it is all or nothing. My question, as the Holy Spirit only fills those part of our lives into which she is welcomed is this: ‘How much of you has the Holy Spirit got?
Give yourselves fully to the Holy Spirit. She is only a prayer away.
*her because I do not like referring to someone as personal as the Holy Spirit as it. As the Hebrew word for Spirit is feminine I am following that convention.