“New Prophets and New Wine”

Anyone who thinks that church is boring never heard about Pentecost. The “Birthday of the Church” was one wild party.

The followers of Jesus did not plan this party.  No committees met, there was no strategy session, it just happened. Pentecost happened to them. The only contribution they made was their presence together. “The disciples were all together in one place.” Suddenly they heard the sound of a hurricane, then they saw flames of fire resting on each one of them; wind and fire, a rather combustible combination. Sensing the Holy Spirit was coursing through them, they began to praise God, oddly enough in other languages!

It just so happened, well that’s not exactly true, it happened that there were devout Jewish tourists from every known nation in town for Passover. From street level they heard the commotion and were bewildered. “What gives?!”

They each heard messages of God’s power in their own languages. Some wondered what this meant. The more cynical among them sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine,” in other words, bombed out of their minds.

The first sermon given in the context of church was, “We’re not drunk! It’s only 9 in the morning.” Something about that always makes me smile.

Friends, the Holy Spirit is a wild one. She moves wherever she wishes. I say, “she” because “spirit” is both masculine and feminine in Hebrew (rūaḥ”), and neuter in Greek (pneûma). Gender aside, the Holy Spirit is not a tame spirit. As Jesus said in John ch. 3:8 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Maybe the disciples were drunk after all; drunk with the Holy Spirit! Ever since Oak Hill was born in a bar, the Spirit has been moving among its people.  

Come Holy Spirit, Come!