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My personal Pentecost

There is an episode of My Name is Earl where the gang goes to see a young faith healer. During the service, Joy, Earl’s ex-wife, in a frenzy to get the healer’s attention cries out, “…in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the friendly ghost, pick me.” Yup, Joy seems to think that Casper is the third person of the Trinity. Irreverent, I know, but it also points to just how little many of us comprehend the Holy Spirit.

A Pentecost mosaic
The Holy Spirit is depicted as coming to the first followers of Jesus in a wind and tongues of fire.

Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church. We decorated our sanctuary in red, added a dove to our cross, and put a firepot on the communion table—all symbols of the Holy Spirit. Yet it seems we just can’t grasp this third person of the Trinity.

One reason is that the Spirit is an amorphous concept. We can picture Jesus: tall, thin, long dark hair and beard, white robe, blue eyes, great abs, etc. The same is true of God the Father: old man, long white beard, robe. We recognize that these images are inaccurate, but they help.

The Spirit on the other hand is described as a dove and tongues of fire, not quite the same thing. Our preachers tell us that in Greek the word for spirit, pneuma, could also be translated wind. So we could talk about the Trinity as the Father, Son, and Holy Wind. What are we to do with that? And that talk about a Holy Ghost, let’s admit, is a little weird. No wonder Joy is confused.

Like the wind, I cannot show the Spirit to you, but I can tell you how the Spirit moved and worked in me, in what I call my personal Pentecost.

Many years ago I went into my church’s sanctuary to pray about some struggles I was going through. I knelt at the communion rail, and poured out to God all of the doubts and fears I was experiencing. Then something happened.

The room filled with a wind. I heard the windows creak like they do in a storm, but somehow this was from the inside. I felt as though the walls were bowing from the stress of trying to contain this. Then the wind swirled around me. Enveloped in the Holy Spirit I knew that whatever was to come I would not be alone. God the Spirit would be with me through it all.

May you know today that no matter what you are going through the Holy Spirit goes with you giving you peace, strength, and power.


  1. Infant Gerald
    Infant Gerald March 11, 2013

    Greetings Brother. Could we use the symbol in gathering as well. It is a very inspiring picture

    • Joe
      Joe March 12, 2013

      It is not my picture. I borrowed it from another website.

  2. S. Smith
    S. Smith April 13, 2014

    I found this while searching for things to do with the children at our church leading up to and including Pentecost. I too have been struggling with the concept of the Holy Spirit. I can find a lot about G-d, or the Father, and Jesus. Only recently, I have come to understand the Father in a beautiful way. I prayed a few years ago for more of the Holy Spirit from the Bible verse that I believe is in Luke. But before becoming what most would say is born-again, I believed in Jesus as a child and throughout my life. I just didn’t have a relationship with him.

    I just wanted to share that information to explain that during that period in my life just before or just after becoming born again, I had a dream that was very much like what you explained. The wind was inside and blew out the windows in my house. I won’t go into all the details about the dream. I just wanted to share that. I still don’t understand it really, but I have never forgot the dream and now understand it as the Holy Spirit.

  3. […] light (Matthew 11:30). He filled the first disciples/apostles with passion to change the world. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit turned a group of disparate people into a body with zeal for the mission and ministry of the […]

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