Windmills are structures that convert wind into rotational energy by the motion of vanes called sails, or blades. For centuries, windmills have been used to power grain mills, pump water, or provide heat. Modern windmills are used as wind turbines that generate electricity. It is a clean, simple, efficient, and rather beautiful way to power up a community.
How do you power up your morning? Do you exercise, to increase your muscle strength? Do you drink caffeine, (raising hand) to power up the sleeping brain cells? Do you power up by plugging in to social media and biased news? Do you power up by starting your day immersed in God’s word?
If you are here every day At Water’s Edge, you are doing the last one, and possibly the second one as well. After all, on the eighth day, God created Sumatra Dark Roast. My fervent prayer for all of us is that we spend 5 daily minutes with Jesus and coffee, and thus power up the day in the best way possible.
While we aren’t technically “Pentecostal,” we certainly are people of the Pentecost. We know our source of power:
Acts 2 New International Version (NIV)
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
That last verse is curious. If you’ve been to a bar or a party where people indeed had too much wine, it is funny to think that that observers of the first Pentecost thought that about those who had received the power of the Holy Spirit. Surely in the intensity of that moment they lost control of their deportment and were likely running around in the sheer joy and overwhelming excitement of it all. I’m sure I would have looked like a flippin’ lunatic. It also reminds us that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, others will indeed make fun of us.
As we work our way through Acts, we see the other manifestations of the Holy Spirit explained and explored. The Holy Spirit empowers us to have compassion, to pray, to exhort, to serve, to worship, to have joy, peace, patience, gentleness, self-control…the list goes on throughout the New Testament. We understand that God works through us through the Holy Spirit.
But take a look again at the first empowerment. The people at Pentecost received a fresh wind and a fresh fire that enabled them to SPEAK EACH OTHER’S LANGUAGE. This singular moment, which launched the beginning of the church, was for the purpose of UNITY. Jews, converts to Judaism, Cretans, and Arabs together declared the wonders of God in each other’s tongues.
Where have we gone so wrong?
In today’s divisive world, we need a second Pentecost. We need the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to descend and bring us to a new vision of One-ness in the Lord. We Christians need to take seriously the inclusive language in Galatians:
Galatians 3 (NIV)
Children of God
23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile. There is neither slave nor free. There is neither male nor female. What overrides these separations of categories is that we are all one in Jesus Christ.
How would you do today differently if you approached everyone with an attitude that they are one with you? How can you employ and deploy the power of the Holy Sprit to bring something good to someone else, perhaps someone very unlike you? Where is God calling you to speak someone else’s language so that you can experience oneness with them?
Want a challenge? Start with a teenager.
We are invited today to be a windmill for Christ. To capture the power of the Holy Spirit and generate more power to love, serve, help, communicate, and do the will of God in bringing wholeness and oneness to his creation. Raise your blades! Pentecost is waiting.
Photo by Amy Wrenn.