gorgeous and historic sanctuary anyway. It was even more beautiful.
When the Holy Spirit comes (as told in Acts 2: 1-21), it comes with a sound like the rush of a violent wind and in tongues of fire.
Our other Scripture lesson for the day was John 7: 37-39:
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.Living water ... rushing wind ... tongues of fire. Those aren't exactly stagnant images, as they?
As Pastor Ben said, "God's presence and the Holy Spirit change us."
It can happen slowly. Sometimes it's in an instant. But it's moving, not stagnant.
Living, moving water shapes canyons, moves boulders and changes the landscape.
Fire can be contained in a backyard fire pit, but its flames still reach up toward the night sky. Or it can race through a burning building.
As Pastor Ben shared, Pentecost isn't just a "story" that happened long ago. God isn't finished "moving" us and doing new things even today. The Holy Spirit comes to open our eyes and show us how to be more connected, have mercy, offer forgiveness and transform the world with justice and love.
But it requires movement. I have to leave a beautifully appointed sanctuary and go out into a messy, noisy, complicated world. As Pastor Ben says, "We have inherited the work."
The wind theme continued past church for me yesterday. At 2 PM, the wind was blowing through a small Kansas cemetery as two young soldiers from Fort Riley honored a World War II veteran and his family. It was the service for my Great Uncle Oric Neelly, my Grandpa Shelby Neelly's youngest brother. Oric was the final one of the 10 children to be laid to rest.
In the service bulletin, his family shared one of his favorite poems, "Who Has Seen the Wind?" by Christina Rossetti. It was one he recited often:
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
Whether being moved by the Holy Spirit or moved by the story of one of our nation's heroes, the challenge is there to live - not stagnate - and to make a difference.