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When the Wind Blows
by Tom Goodman
May 5, 2010

The residents of the Shetland Islands, just above Scotland in the North Sea, have stories about coping with the region's high winds.  You could say they love to, well, regale others about the gusts.

There are stories of cats meowing helplessly as they flail airborne for 15 feet.  There are insistent accounts of flying cows.  At miles-per-hour, the unofficial account for one gust was a top wind speed of 201 -- before the wind gauge blew away.  Then there is the ungraceful humiliation of what some residents call "Shetland Dancing," where the wind twirls you around before flattening you.

It's hard to sort out the truth from the tall tales, but clearly life is different in the Shetlands when the wind blows.

The second chapter of Acts says that when the Holy Spirit showed up, "a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting" (verse 2).  The Greek word we translate "blowing" was used in Luke 21:25 to speak of the crash made by breakers in a stormy sea.  And, if the word "blowing" wasn't descriptive enough, the wind was also described as "violent."  Verse 2 says the roar of this blowing, violent wind filled the whole building.

We like to sing that gentle song with the line, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace."  I'm grateful for my experiences with God's peace.  But the disciples in Acts 2 would say that providing us our personal spa day is not always what the Spirit has in mind!

No, sometimes in our lives and our churches we find the experience of the Spirit is not so much like a spring breeze but more like a roaring wind rushing forcibly through our lives.

Nothing can remain securely in place when the Spirit blows Shetland-style.  Sinful habits get scattered, moribund church traditions get overturned, and bitter attitudes get knocked aside.  God's Spirit sweeps away the things that have kept us from being useful instruments for him.

If you want a closer study of the disciples' first experience with the Spirit in Acts 2, you can listen to last Sunday's message at our website.  You will also benefit from Herb Ingram's "Daily Cup" devotionals this week.  These devotionals are sent to your email each weekday with a scripture reading and a thought-provoking question based on the previous Sunday's sermon.  Ask him to sign you up (


This week's article was inspired from an old church newsletter article by Doug Jackson.

Weblog:  Check out my blog, "Get Anchored," with its Links to Your World -- interesting and informative links, posted every Tuesday.

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