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Wind, Flame and Crumbly Orange Bread

June 6, 2012

Our evening devotionals became one of my favorite parts of this trip. It was a chance for all eight of us to gather together as a team and share our favorite moments from the day, share scripture together and pray. Monday evening we celebrated Pentecost by reading Acts 2:1-18 and discovering the similarities between our group and the disciples experiencing the coming of the Holy Spirit.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

In my opinion, evenings in Honduras are the best time of the day, because we are all gathered together in one place. While we’re in the village during the day, we may be spread out in as many as 4-5 different groups for our team of 8. But at night we are reunited and can share time to worship together as we study scripture and reflect on the day.

The Holy Spirit is referred to as the rush of a violent wind. Think about wind. You can’t see it, but you can see the effect it has on things. You can’t reach out and touch it, but you can certainly feel it as it blows around you. And if you listen carefully enough, you can hear it. Wind is a magnificent and curious thing. So is the Holy Spirit.

Put your hands together, in the form of prayer hands or clasped tightly. Push them together as hard as you can. You can’t get your hands any closer together. Nothing is closer than skin on skin. Now keep your hands together, and put your mouth near them and blow out your breath. Can you feel it? Can you feel the warm air rushing through your hands? Think about the Holy Spirit as air, or wind, or breath. The Greek word “neuma” means wind, spirit, and breath. How interesting to think that spirit and breath are the same. When you feel your breath between your hands, think of how much closer that breath can get to you than you can even get to yourself. Think about how much closer the Holy Spirit can get in you than you can even get to yourself. That’s how the Holy Spirit fills us and sustains us and makes us better than we are on our own.

Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.

A tongue of fire, perhaps like the one in a single candle, emits a soft glow of light. No matter how dark the surrounding area is, nothing can darken the light of a flame. The more tongues of fire you put together, the brighter their light grows. I have seen a warm flame, a tongue of fire, inside each of our team members. It is a fire of passion and excitement, a flame of compassion and caring. It is a small light that grows brighter and brighter when gathered together with others who share that same passion for service. The more they let their light shine and share the message of God’s love by loving others, the more God’s love will grow and spread and make the world a brighter place.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Throughout this week we are speaking other languages. Not everyone speaks fluent Spanish, although some in our group are significantly better than others. Claire and I kept accidentally letting words slip out in French, and then tried to figure out the Spanish equivalent. But whether we were speaking English or Spanish or some form of other language entirely, we managed to communicate with the people in our villages just fine. Laughter and smiles translate in any language. The sparkle in someone’s eyes as they light up with joy can be read by anyone. We learned how to communicate on the worksites using hand whistles and hand gestures, and by anticipating the next move before our work partner realized what they needed. The Holy Spirit truly gave us ability this week to speak in other languages and to understand one another in so many ways.

In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

Together we celebrated the presence of the Holy Spirit the best way we knew how, by sharing in Holy Communion together. Because when we celebrate Communion, the Holy Spirit promises to show up and be made present in the bread and the cup. And so we partook of the elements as a group, as a team, as a family…Honduran style. We broke a loaf of crumbly orange bread we picked up from the Mennonite bakery and drank the fruit of the vine from a grape juice box found in the supermercado. We served one another in love and in truth as we celebrated the work of the Holy Spirit active and alive in each one of us, promising to lead and guide us, assuring us of God’s never-ending presence, and reminding us all to allow our light to shine. It was delicious.

Holy Communion, Honduran Style

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