The fire of God’s presence

Alice YoungFrontPage, News, Pastor

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

Acts 2:1-4 NIV

The celebration of Pentecost often seems to slip past us in the midst of May Missions month!  But the Sunday just gone is a marking of one of the most important days in the life of the Christian church. Some have called it the birthday of the church. But what about Pentecost events make it the day the church was born?

One in particular is the little flames of fire which ‘came to rest on each of them’. It sounds like a strange and unexpected thing to happen but if we look back into the Old Testament, we will see that the meaning and significance of this fire runs deep.

The fire that burned but didn’t consume the bush in front of Moses in the desert is an early example – a sign to Moses of God’s holy presence. As Israel journeyed through the desert, the pillar of fire by night also indicated God’s presence with his people. Fire appeared above the Tabernacle and then the temple as God’s permanent place of dwelling with his people.

So by the time fire appears above the heads of Jesus’ disciples in a locked room 40 days after his ascension, the meaning is clear to them. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, God intends to come and dwell with his people in a whole new way – not in a building but in each person! Paul asks the Corinthians – ‘Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?  When God’s dwelling place has become human hearts and human community, the church is truly born!

Love to you all, Miranda.

Photo by Paul Bulai on Unsplash