“When the Day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind.” —Acts 2:1-2.
“ … [Jesus] breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” —John 20:22.
Barbara Brown Taylor1 describes two versions of Pentecost: the gentle breeze in John, as Jesus breathes into the few disciples fearfully gathered on the night of his resurrection; and the violent wind of Pentecost that is described in Acts, as the Holy Spirit sweeps in, with tongues of fire hovering over at least a hundred people.
The disciples at the gentle wind Pentecost are commissioned to take the Spirit out into the world. The ministry assigned to the violent wind disciples is to seek to fan the Spirit already present in the world. Taylor challenges us in our congregations to emulate the disciples in both Pentecost stories: those of the gentle breeze and those of the violent wind. Both groups are commissioned to find that Holy Spirit within themselves and others, and take it out of their churches and into the world.
The same is true of the Sprit, the Christ, within us. We are called to connect to that Spirit within us and then go out and connect to the Christ in others. If we don’t, we are like the disciples in John’s scenario—locked up in a dark room for fear of losing what we have. Only when we connect our Spirit to the Christ in others do we know that peace, joy, and love that we are seeking. Our view of God also becomes larger as we become aware of the magnitude of God’s creation and love.
Barbara Brown Taylor, “God’s Breath” in Journal for Preachers, Pentecost 2003, pp. 37-40.