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Catch the Wind


 

I am a sailing wannabe.  While growing up near Candlewood Lake (CT) and the Long Island Sound, I experienced the challenge of sailing a variety of vessels: a 19 ft. sailing canoe, a 19 ft. Lightning, and a 12 ft. Mini Fish.  While many of our family outings were frustrated by calm seas, there were those euphoric afternoons when the breeze was strong, the sails were tight, the heading was perfect, and we caught the wind.  In those moments we leaned out over the side, skimmed across the water, and felt like we were flying.  Yes, I confess that, as a teenager, I grumbled a bit about family sailing outings, but as an adult, I appreciate opportunities to get back out on the water. 

 

This Sunday, May 19th, Protestant and Catholic Churches celebrate Pentecost marking the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and first believers, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus (the Orthodox Church celebrates on June 23rd).  The Spirit descended in a dramatic display of fire and earth-shattering wind (Acts chapter 2), supernaturally empowering the followers of Jesus to declare the wonders of God in the native languages of the multitudes gathered in Jerusalem.  This event fulfills the words of Jesus who said just prior to His Ascension, “Wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about…In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit…You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts chapter 1).  The power for effective witness—proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed—came as they caught the wind of the Spirit.

 

But first, you must wait! No one can faithfully follow Jesus on their own. Notice the command given to the Apostles and one which also relates to us today, “Wait for the Holy Spirit.” Although they heard His teaching and saw him in His resurrection, they still needed the empowerment of God to fulfill His calling on their lives.  Wait!  You need to catch the wind of the Spirit. How can we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbor as ourself?  Wait for the wind of the Spirit! How can we do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God?  Wait for the wind of the Spirit! How can we serve as peacemakers amidst conflicts in families, among neighbors, between peoples? Wait for the wind of the Spirit! How can we forgive others in the same way God, in Christ, has forgiven us?  Wait for the wind of the Spirit.  How can we proclaim the reality of the new life found in Christ?  Wait for the wind of God’s Holy Spirit!

 

If you’re eager to experience this power, I have good news.  The Holy Spirit comes as God’s gift. As the Apostle Peter proclaimed, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts chapter 2).  In other words, turn from your own, self-directed way of life and seek the way of Jesus, allowing Him to direct how you live. Invite the Holy Spirit to fill, cleanse, direct and empower you to fulfill God’s calling on your life. As you wait expectantly upon Him and sense His presence, catch the wind, and get moving.  You just may feel as if you are flying!

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