When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”
In my office, on the wall behind me, hang two photographs recalling “when the day of Pentecost had come,” and we were all together in one place; the day of my confirmation and the day of graduation from Seminary.
It’s been a few years since my confirmation, so it’s a bit difficult to remember just exactly what was said during that rite, but what I do remember is having to stand before the congregation, fielding questions from any one of them, reciting the Apostles’ Creed and a wave of relief come over me when I was confirmed. That might qualify for a rush of wind come into the church.
My graduation from Seminary was not all that far away. It was certainly a very memorable day; gathered with all my classmates, being issued our diplomas. I recall returning to my seat, holding the diploma folder on my lap, and opening it up to verify that it was really true! On my way rejoicing! Filled with the Holy Spirit! I definitely felt the rush of this wind!
The Hebrew noun ruah can be translated into English as spirit, breath, or wind. Spirit is the most used translation. It is reminiscent of the ruah that was breathed into Adam. It is the same ruah that Jesus breathed upon the disciples in the closed door upper room when he came among them after the resurrection.
The other thing that is noted is that tongues of fire appeared to rest upon the disciples, and that each began to speak in different languages. The red balloons should give us that image commemorating this day when the fire came upon our confirmands.
As we lay our hands upon the confirmands, we hope they sense this ruah and that they are to go into the world sharing the good news of God’s love through their own words and actions.
On June 9th we will observe Pentecost Sunday and there will be 9 confirmands gathered in one place. Please make your best effort to attend as you will be witnesses and participants to this rite. Come……be part of that ruah; a spirit of service, a spirit of love, a spirit of resurrection beyond death to all, gathered together on a special day.