This is the longest title I’ve ever written. And all about a day that never existed.
Except, lots of people in Sunday School think it did.
Yes, Sunday School.
As a child, Sunday School was one of my favorite places. To this day, I recall classrooms and teachers and experiences from as early as Kindergarten. And of course, the stories, and the pictures, and the coloring pages which attempted to portray the reality of the Bible.
And rightly so. And many times, genuinely so.
And many times, genuinely wrongly so.
So I lived much of my life thinking there was a day when wind blew through someone’s house. Like an actual wind. Blowing inside a house.
And then actual fire appeared in little flames sitting on people’s heads.
And this was Pentecost for my five-year-old . . . ten-year-old . . . thirty-year-old brain.
Until I actually read about Pentecost. Acts 2.
Where “there came from heaven a SOUND LIKE a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.”
A sound. An insane sound, yes. But just a sound.
“And divided tongues AS OF fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.”
As of fire. Like fire. Resembling fire. Not necessarily fire.
As far as we know, nobody left that place with wind-blown, scorched hair. They left that place with the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit does some crazy things, but let’s not credit him with wind-blown, scorched hair until we have proof.
If we’re gonna wonder, let’s wonder why they “began to speak in other tongues” immediately after these “tongues as of fire” appeared. Let’s wonder what James’ “the tongue is a fire” (3:6) and Isaiah’s “his tongue is like a devouring fire” (30:27) has to do with it. Or does it?
And let’s actually try to figure it out. Let’s dig down deep. Let’s ponder what we know. And let’s throw out the make-believe’s of our Sunday School days.
That the Word may dwell in us richly and accurately. And that this may be the story we tell our little ones.
Not about “the day a wind blew through the house and fire stood on their heads.” But about the day the Holy Spirit came, and strange and amazing things happened, and people left changed.