I wonder what it would have been like to be in the upper room 2000 years ago. Watching. Waiting. Praying. Not knowing what’s going to happen, not really knowing that anything is going to happen except that a gift – this “Holy Spirit” – was going to be given.
And then it happened! Tongues of fire crashed in to the room and landed on them. All present began to speak in different tongues themselves! This act would become known as the “giving of the Holy Spirit.” Could you even imagine?
Now, not to put some spiteful/bitter/blasphemous spin on this situation (I am not poking fun at this event whatsoever), but what I cannot seem to figure out is how those people in that upper room, with no idea of what was going to happen, with no mood-music, and with no preacher/elder/usher screaming tongues in to their ears; how were they able to receive the Holy Spirit?
The modern, Apostolic-Holy-Ghost-receiving-atmosphere generally consists of; the call to receive, the mood-music (be it “I Win” for the excitable sermon or “Let it Rain” for the more somber ‘repentance’ message), and a pastorally initiated, non-verbal directing of elders, deacons, and ushers that would put delta force to shame.
It is at this point that the repentant of heart, standing at an old fashion altar, alone, transparent before his maker, bearing his soul, hears the sound of a rushing, mighty wind: “SHOULD’A BOUGHT’A HONDA!”
Now drama aside, is this really necessary? When I received the Holy Ghost, thank God there were people with me who were respectful of what was happening. They didn’t turn it in to some sideshow, fast food joint with a goal of turning out new believers like premade combo meals.
I’ve witnessed events to the tune of one man (we’ll refer to him as “sinner” from here on out), two elders, the sinner sandwiched between like a stale ¼ pounder. In his left ear, the sinner was told to “hold on brother, the Lord’s coming for you!” In his right ear, the sinner heard “let it go brother, lay it all down!” So what we have here are contradictory statements; hold on, and let go. What is the poor sinner to do?
This is what he is to do. Just wait it out. At some point, sooner probably rather than later, the men on either side are going to run out of clichés and scripted adages and change their tactic. This is what the poor sinner doesn’t see coming. The men on either side have switched to screaming in tongues in the sinner’s ear.
At this point the sinner, with eyes the size of frying pans and a hammer-n-anvil inner-ear symphony that would leave a medieval blacksmith envious, begins a last ditch effort to filter out the room noise and focus on God.
It is of no avail, the buns of this fast food burger are too much for his dinky ¼ lb patty. He lowers his hands and wipes his eyes.
This, however, has not deterred the buns. In fact they probably haven’t even realized that the sinner has given up. They scream until they are horse, slowly take their hands of the sinners’ wrists and then, with the resolution of an oak, simply tighten their belts and move on to the next sinner.