As we celebrate Pentecost today, I though it would be interesting to focus on wind and fire and some of the pictures they conjure up for us. Both are forces which can do great positive things, but can also be hugely destructive.
The big, old four masted schooners, with their many sails were usually moved solely by the force of the wind.
Hebrew scholars (I’m not one of them!) know that the Hebrew word “ruah” or “ruach” may be translated as “wind”, “breath” or Spirit”.
“Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
O praise him, alleluia.”
Certainly in England and Holland and probably other countries, people have harnessed the power of the wind, as in windmills to grind wheat into flour, and wind pumps to drain unwanted water from farm land. And more recently there has been a proliferation of wind turbines to provide greener, cleaner energy.
“The wind blows where it likes, you can hear the sound of it but you have no idea where it comes from or where it goes”. J B Phillips version.
“Thou fire so masterful and bright
that givest us both warmth and light’
O praise him.”
We don’t use actual fires as much as people of even a century ago, but there are still camp fires, bonfires, wood burners, kitchen ranges, candles…..and probably more examples.
It is interesting to note that on the first Pentecost, the disciples saw the tongues of fire on one another’s heads, not on their own. One could ponder different reasons and significance for this…….
“The flame shall not hurt thee, his only design
thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.”
Finally, if you have ever experienced such a strong wind that you could lean into it without falling over, or have been near enough to a bushfire to feel its heat, then you know how truly awesome both wind and fire can be