Full of Hot Air
Scriptures: Acts 2:1-13; Luke 4:16-21; Joel 2:27-29
Something in Middle Eastern geography
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
In the upper room at Pentecost
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
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.