Southminster Presbyterian Church

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Full of Hot Air

Ken Onstot

Scriptures: Acts 2:1-13; Luke 4:16-21; Joel 2:27-29

Something in Middle Eastern geography

Produces visions;

Judaism, Christianity, Islam,

Three world-encompassing religions.

 

Maybe it’s the wind parched land,

Or heat radiating off the sand

That produces mirage-like sensations,

What some people call revelations.

 

Revelation or mirage,

Prophet or pretender,

Which was Jesus,

Heretic or God’s righteous defender?

 

Even in his own home town

People were divided,

Some followed, some rejected,

And some were simply undecided.

 

In the synagogue Jesus read

Isaiah’s glorious vision

Of a Spirit anointed prophet

Proclaiming God’s provision

For the poor, the blind,

Those at the end of their rope,

Who had nothing else to grasp

But the good news of God’s hope.

 

Jesus read Isaiah’s words,

Then closed the book;

He said, “Today, it’s fulfilled,

You have only to look.”

 

Some nodded with hope,

Some thought him on dope;

Some appreciated his care,

Others said, “He’s full of hot air.”

And they were right!

 

Holy Spirit, hot air, wind and fire;

Igniting our hearts with God’s desire

For a world of righteousness, peace, and love

That can only come from the Lord above.

 

That’s what happened at Pentecost:

The blowing of a heaven-sent breeze

Ignited by God’s fire,

Bringing disciples to their knees.

 

They were all together in that upper room.

When the Spirit went Ka-boom

And rained on them a fiery shower

Filling them with heavenly power.

 

But it wasn’t just the twelve

Who received the Spirit that day;

Luke says the believers numbered over one hundred,

And many were gathered in that room to pray,

Including women who had followed Jesus

And supported the work of his mission.

They too spoke in tongues that day

And received the Spirit’s commission.

How striking that they were together

When the Spirit came.

Many feel closest to God alone,

A big crowd just isn’t the same.

 

They would prefer meeting God on a lake

Or praying quietly alone;

Other people are such a distraction,

With their attitudes, quirks, and ringing cell phones.

 

Great revelations are for the solitary,

Jesus in the desert, Buddha under a tree,

Moses on Mt. Sinai;

Surely the Spirit is not a democracy.

 

Yet they were together that day

When the Spirit came to reside

On men and women, young and old,

Just as Joel had prophesied.

 

It came with tongues of fire.

Now there is a picture absurd!

Such an image is not meant to be seen,

It’s really meant to be heard.

 

For the Spirit is, above all, a sound,

The voice of people speaking,

Inviting us to know the God

We’ve all along been seeking.

 

And the message got through that day

Thanks to the Spirit,

For the disciples delivered it

In a way so people could hear it.

Most would have probably understood

If the message had been given in Greek,

But in using each one’s language of birth,

The Spirit chose a more personal way to speak.

 

At the Tower of Babel

Language divided.

In the upper room at Pentecost

Language united.

 

Still not everyone believed.

The message they had received.

The apostles were debunked

With claims they were drunk.

Even though it was only nine in the morning;

The lines in the bar weren’t even forming.

 

There is always a way to reject God’s call

To build back up the Christ-shattered wall,

Denying the hope Jesus called us to preach

To a hungering world he wants us to reach.

 

But the Spirit is not so easily thwarted,

Nor its message so easily distorted.

 

Though some mocked the Spirit that day

The flame still had its way

Burning into many a heart

Inviting others to take their part

Sharing God’s yearning for reconciliation

With the people of every race and nation.

 

Holy Spirit, wind and flame;

The disciples were indeed full of hot air,

The kind of hot air that lifts people up

From their solitary despair.

 

The kind of hot air expanding the boundaries

Of our shrunken worldview

Opening doors of new mission

For all to pursue.

 

The kind of hot air

Wafted abroad,

Inviting unexpected people

To a relationship with God.

 

Holy Spirit, hot air,

Don’t be afraid to breathe it in.

For the breath of life that created the world,

Can help life begin again.

 

"Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care."

Psalm 95:6-7