tirsdag 3. mai 2016

Visible signs

It's always exciting to see clear evidence of the Holy Spirit's presence. Most often it is only the effect of the presence that is visible through transformed lives - and there is nothing more important than transformed lives. Also on the first day of Pentecost - the day of the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit, it was transformed lives that was the major sign – not at least because it was the lasting visible (and audible) sign.

Yet there are many other signs that get attention when people read the story of the first Pentecost. Today I will reflect upon the first of these signs:

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Acts 2:2
The Greek 'pneuma' and Hebrew 'Ruach' can mean both spirit, wind, air and breath. Therefore it is no wonder that the wind could be a sign of God's presence. Although I sometimes have been swept of my feet and have experienced his presence as a gentle breeze, it was the sound of a strong wind that was heard on the day of Pentecost. 

God spoke both to Job (1) and Jona (2) in a storm, but when God had an appointment with Elijah, he was not in the wind Elijah heard. The point is that God sometimes chooses to reveal himself through visible  signs, but - and this is very important: signs may be present without God presence, and vice versa.

However, I note that the sound in this case attracted the attention of thousands of people, and that in itself was used for God’s purpose. The verse reminds me that when God "suddenly" comes in the Spirit, it is important to have all senses sharpened. I am only sharpened when I am truly present. The signs of God's presence are interesting, but it is the effect of presence that is life-changing.

'Manna' for today:
The signs of God's presence are interesting,
but it is the effect of them that is important.
(1) Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm - Job 38:1-11
(2) Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea - Jona 1:4
This reflection is part of 'Who acts throug Acts?'

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