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Got Your Back

June 30, 2012

“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2).

Pentecost is the ancient name for the Jewish harvest festival, or “Festival of Weeks,” celebrated the fiftieth day after Passover.   Christians celebrate Pentecost as the birth of the Christian church, in memory of the event reported by Luke in Acts, when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus’ disciples and family, who were gathered to celebrate the Festival of Weeks.  We are in the long season of Pentecost, which ends in November.  It is a time when we ponder the work of the Holy Spirit through his people.

The first instruction that Jesus gave to his disciples when he appeared to them after the Resurrection, was to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19).  He also reminded them that He would be with them, “to the end of the age.”  Jesus was with his disciples and is with us today through the work of the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit who walks with us and helps us in our daily witness.

We were reading the Gospel lesson on Pentecost Sunday, in church, a few weeks after my mother died,  recounting the of the strong wind from heaven ushering in the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:2).  The account of the wind in a desert in Israel reminded me of another strong desert wind I had recently encountered.

It was one of those windy desert afternoons in the spring.  We were headed back to Los Angeles on Interstate 10 from Palm Desert, and the wind had kicked up.  I was emotionally and physically exhausted after spending eleven hours with Mom, who had been in pain much of the day.  I knew that she was declining, and it was difficult to watch.

I was looking forward to a quiet, unremarkable trip home.  Californians don’t take weather issues in stride; I noticed the strong wind with a sense of foreboding.  “I hope our windshield doesn’t get pitted,” I remarked worriedly to my husband.   Large sweeps of sand were being propelled by the wind across the highway.

“I don’t think it will damage our windshield,” he replied. “The wind is at our back.”  Hearing Bob say,  “The wind is at our back,” was an epiphany moment for me.  When I realized that the wind was working with us, not against us, I relaxed.  The wind was pushing us forward, helping us.  Far from being damaging to us, the wind might even help move us toward our destination.

Isn’t that just like the Holy Spirit?  Mostly He guides us in the right direction by being the “wind at our back,” propping us up, or spurring us on.  Sometimes He comes alongside us, to give us special encouragement to do His work.  It is at those times when we feel His presence.

We are all on a road to somewhere, and we are all at different stages in our journey.  Mom was coming near the end of her earthly journey.  But wherever we are on our journeys, He is with us, keeping us on the right path, the right road.  The Holy Spirit always has our backs.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan                                                                                                        June 30, 2012  (adapted from The Laughing Grandma)

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