Pentecost – Some thoughts by Chris Brown
Phew! It has been hot lately. I know some of you have been enjoying the heat, warming all the way through to your bones. The rest of us, though – including me, have been struggling. I can’t think straight when it gets so hot and sadly my study being the smallest room in the house (well not quite the smallest but it is smaller than the bathroom) and being kitted out with a powerful computer that pumps out hot air all day gets even hotter than the rest of the house. I also can’t sleep when it is hot. This might be one reason I like sleeping in tents so much – but that is for another day. I love seeing a sunny day though.
Anyway, all this heat coming around the time of Pentecost makes me think about the story of Pentecost itself. All the disciples gathered into one upper room (not generally used for much because it would get too hot on a sunny day), phew. Then comes a wonderful strong wind – that must have been wonderful to feel but then tongues of fire on their heads. The thought of it at the moment almost makes me wilt just to think of it – tongues of fire on your head!
Heat is of course necessary to life. I have personal experience, on more than one occasion, of what cold can do to you. Hypothermia is not a funny thing and I’ve both had it and seen others with it several times. Thankfully we have always got to safety – and warmth. Such experiences make me now carry warm clothing when I walk on the hills, even in the heat of summer. Too much heat can kill but so can too much cold. Cold also slows you down, stops you thinking (frankly it makes you silly), and really makes you miserable – brrrr.
So what heat do we need from God and have we grown too cold? What coldness has crept in to our Christian life? Coldness to others perhaps? Coldness to ourselves maybe? Worst of all coldness to God?
Thankfully, God has an answer and he sends it on that first Pentecost – the warmth of his presence. The fire that comes with God is enough to dispel all the coldness that we might experience in our Christian life – but only if we invite it in.
I know one more horrible story of two young men who froze to a pillar on top of a mountain during a snow storm. When the rescue services reached them they discovered that in their backpacks were warm clothes and even a hot drink – all things that would probably have saved their lives. The cold stopped them thinking straight and they paid a terrible cost. We need not just to possess what can help us but to actually make use of it. We need not just to believe in God but also to allow God in and learn to depend on and love God.
Enjoy the warmth.