Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost – a powerful moment in our history when the Holy Spirit entered the followers of Jesus.
Pentecost seems neglected when it comes to Christian celebrations. I am trying to honor this event more intentionally both at church and at home. I compiled a Pentecost Celebration Idea Guide that you can download at no cost by clicking on the button below.
What do you visualize when you think of the Holy Spirit?
In the front of our church, painted high, close to the ceiling is a dove – one of the more familiar symbols of the Spirit.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.
Matthew 3: 16
I guess I have always thought of the spirit as a quiet, gentle voice of God. The Lord passed by Elijah as a whisper.
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
1 King 19: 11-12
But on Sunday when we heard once again the reading from the Book of Acts – the Spirit of God barged into the lives of God’s followers with wind and fire. Quite a different entrance, I would say. More explosive and awakening.
Did you know the Celtic symbol for the Holy Spirit was the wild goose?
Doves are docile and delicate, but the wild goose is untamable, free, and unpredictable. This way of seeing the spirit reminds us that God cannot be controlled or contained. Geese can be noisy and protective. The spirit is passionate and driven to defend those she loves.
Puts a new spin on the expression: A Wild Goose Chase – doesn’t it? Instead of the normal meaning of us dashing down a path that leads to nowhere, a Wild Goose chase could be God’s spirit within us leading us on the journey he planned for us.
The day of Pentecost with all the noise, fire and wind transformed the disciples and set the church on fire for the Lord. Their lives and their faith forever changed by the power of the Pentecost. They did embark on a new journey/chase with God. Pentecost reminded me of what I read last week about the word transformed.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin used the word transposed instead of transformed. He wrote of his increased need to be transposed. In music to transpose means to change to a new key. The melody stays the same but the music sounds different. Possibly the instruments adjust to different notes; maybe one who had only played in the background now is the featured soloist. Changed yet the same. The Holy Spirit remains the same but I am perceiving a new aspect of the spirit as I am transposed.
The power of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and in our everyday lives reorders our souls. I like to think it tunes us into better reception to hear God’s voice. Maybe it aligns us better to his will and desires.
Dare we ask God to send us a wild goose spirit? To be honest, it takes courage to ask God to fire up that ember within my heart to roaring fire. The image of a goose, loud, obnoxious and biting as people approach them doesn’t appeal to me. But their unflinching passion and undefeatable nature gives me new insight to the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps I have watered down the Spirit’s image way too long in my life. Maybe the image of the dove lingers in my comfort zone, more benignly than adventuresome. Is my faith too predictable, limited and complacent? Time to be transposed?
Then I remember the Holy Spirit already dwells within a believer’s heart and does give us strength and the words to witness. She draws us closer to God and gives us the words to spread the Good News. We are called to be bold for Christ. Pentecost lives on within us in a powerful way that can’t be controlled or limited.
Ahhh, lots to ponder and discuss with God about when it comes to the Spirit.
What image do you have of the Holy Spirit?