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mighty rushing wind.

I don't have too many distinct memories of Pentecost before today. I mean I've always known the day and what it meant but it isn't often a widely celebrated day. The one other memory I have is from when I was a freshman at Auburn, at Sunday Night Worship for the Wesley Foundation. I remember someone cut out little tongues of fire and had them blown down from big fans in the balcony.

But yesterday--this Pentecost--was different. I started the day like this:

And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting... [acts 2.2]

Each Sunday morning I help lead Sunday School for a Kindergarten class. Our classroom is a small ger. When I woke up in the morning, I could already hear the wind. By the time we arrived at church, in our small ger, it was even stronger. You could hear the wind all around. We were sharing wooshing, violent, rushing wind sounds with the children like we imagined it was on that morning and the children were all enjoying being loud. Then, as if it were planned, the top flap on the roof of our ger caught some wind and began making loud noises and allowed for some wind to come in and fill our ger. It wasn't magical or anything and I'm sure it was a lot less violent then on that Pentecost morning, but it sure was incredible to be reminded that it was a real day, seemingly much like ours.

I imagine this day for the followers. I imagine upon their first wake they too knew this day was different. It's like the calm before a storm, you just know that something is different in the air. Here, too, that seemed to be the case. On Saturday, the temperatures were in the high 70s, maybe even reaching 80. But then, Sunday, the high was barely 55. It was obviously different, special.

I imagine everyone together, experiencing it all together. I imagine the chitter chatter and their reaction. I imagine their feelings and thoughts when ..they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance... [acts 2.4]

I imagine the languages swirling around in the wind, resting on ears and speaking sometimes without comprehension for everyone. As my life has come to exist in other tongues, I've realized that comprehension is often depicted less through words and more through interpretation. Interpretation relies on the heart, it is seen in eyes and gestures and is felt through communion with the other person.

There is comfort and freedom in not being able to understand everything that is said. There is freedom because it allows me to listen with my heart rather than my ears alone. As discouraging as it is not to be able to understand everything sometimes, I'm grateful for the ability to love in a different way.

I did not magically understand languages or have some great enlightenment about life this Pentecost. Although I do not speak Mongolian and it will never be my mother language, I have found peace and been able to depict that the words that are being said are ...describing God's mighty works! [acts 2:11]

Pentecost is coming to mean a celebration beyond all barriers--coming together with other believers and comprehending with our hearts.


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It doesn't quite feel right, though.

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The Prayer of the Empty Water Jar

Jesus, I come into the warmth of your presence
knowing that you are
the very emptiness of God.

I come before you
holding the water jar of my life.

Your eyes meet mine
and I know what I'd rather not know.

I came to be filled
but I am already full.

I am too full
This is my sickness

I am full of things
that crowd out
your healing presence.

A holy knowing steals inside my heart
and I see a painful truth.

I don't need more
I need less
I am too full.

I am full of things that block out
your golden grace.

I am smothered by gods of my own creation
I am lost in the forest of my false self
I am full of my own opinions and narrow attitudes
full of fear, resentments, control
full of self-pity, and arrogance.

Slowly this terrible truth
pierces my heart
I am so full there is no room for you.

Contemplatively, and with compassion
you ask me to reach into my water jar.

One by one, Jesus, you enable me
to lift out the things
that are a hindrance to my wholeness.

I take each one to my heart and