How would we respond today if God wanted to repeat the miracle of Pentecost in one of our carefully scripted Sunday meetings? I wonder if we would embrace the unexpected wildness of that Acts 2 moment. Or would we tell the Spirit to behave?
Pentecost was an abrupt heavenly invasion. It wasn’t planned in a staff meeting; it came “suddenly,” according to Acts 2:2. The noise of wind was not on the program; neither were flames of holy fire.
No one in that prayer meeting in the upper room in Jerusalem expected to speak a supernatural language. Certainly Peter did not expect to give his unrehearsed sermon, and I’m sure he was surprised when 3,000 people were converted. The church was born in a moment of unearthly, unimagined strangeness.
We will celebrate Pentecost this year on June 4. Would we have room for this miracle today if God wanted to do it again? Would we welcome the interruption? I fear we have enacted so many human controls that the Spirit is totally left out of our Sunday experience. If we don’t give Him free rein, worship can become a man-made ritual that is stripped of God’s power.
The apostle Paul warned us not to “quench” the Spirit in 1 Thessalonians 5:19. “Quench” means to extinguish a fire. I fear that today our trendy churches have been equipped with state-of-the-art fire extinguishers that do a professional job of eliminating any risk of a holy outbreak. Let’s be mindful of the most common ways that we quench the Holy Spirit.