Friday, June 04, 2004

pentecost evening

yesterday i blogged about pentecost morning and the risks.

pentecost evening got even more risky: lots of real fire and me laying aside my planned sermon to trust the spirit.


For more …

Pentecost Sunday remembers Acts 2, the Spirit of God, like tongues of fire, that rested on the heads of the early church. The early church is 2000 years ago.

What does this mean today?

Well, plan A would be tongues of fire on everyone’s head.
But, I was sure that OSH would not allow that

So I went for plan B.

Instead I have some friends who enjoy fire.

They soaked a piece of pumice rock in meths overnite.
The piece of rock was 2 feet long.
They then placed the piece of rock at the front of the church.

A fire extinguisher was placed nearby.

I read the Acts 2 Scriptures, the Spirit of God like tongues of fire, resting on the heads of the early church.

We cut the lights and the church became dark. Then my friends lit this piece of pumice rock, and a very spectacular deep blue flame leaps into air.

The meths, which soaks up inside the pumice rock, burns.

And so for the entire service this rock is on fire.

At the same time, I shone a red spotlight on a rotating mirror ball.

So not only is the rock on fire, but red light reflects off the mirror ball.
And so as the mirror ball rotates, little red lights move all over the church, all over people.

So this is quite spectacular.

I sit down and a young woman leans over. She has grown up in a very large charismatic church. What is Pentecost she asks?

And I suddenly realise that my sermon is way of track.
It’s not scratching the questions people are asking.

So, being Pentecost, I now need to trust the Spirit.

I throw away my sermon.

And because I no longer need sermon notes, I ask for the lights to remain dark.

And we sit in darkness, lit only by a flaming pumice rock, and the rotating mirror ball, little red lights move all over people in the church.

What is Pentecost?

Well in the Old Testament, only special people had the Spirit. Only special people could, as it were, lit the pumice rock.

People like Bezalel and Oholiab, who receive the gift of the Spirit to craft the Tabernacle.

People like Saul, in 1 Samuel, who after being anointed king, receives the Spirit and prophesies.

But only unique and special people.

And at the end of the OT, a prophet named Joel has a dream. That one day every person, old and young, men and woman, can have the Spirit.

And at Pentecost, the dream of Joel becomes real. The spirit falls on everyone in the church.

No longer do just special people get to lit the pumice rock. Now the red light of the mirrorball falls on everyone. Everyone has the Spirit.

What is Pentecost? How spirit-filled are our churches?

I suspect that in our church culture in NZ today we need another Pentecost.

We have our celebrities and our hot worship leaders. We have our special speakers who, like pumice, are guaranteed to draw a crowd. We still have mostly men preaching. We are offered CEO, visionary leadership models as the way to grow healthy churches.

And all the time the mirrorball of the Spirit of God is rotating.
Falling on everyone, young and old, men and woman.

Calling to create church communities in which everyone is empowered.

What is Pentecost?
It is the challenge to move from spectacular, special, one-off, stars,
to the mirrorball of God, rotating, falling on everyone, young and old, men and woman.

Some other Pentecost resources on this blog:
– art and theology here
– an annual Pentecost journal here
– global Pentecost resource here
– Pentecost festival 06 here and 07 here

Posted by steve at 01:56 PM


  1. A prayer at Pentecost

    Good comments by Steve at e~mergent kiwi: pentecost evening about the Spirit at Pentecost fulfilling the hope that all, not just a few select ones, are now able to receive, partake in and enjoy the Spirit of God. Reminds me…

    Comment by Greenflame — June 4, 2004 @ 2:28 pm

  2. Oh wow… I’ve just learnt a whole lot more about Pentecost and God’s working in each of us! That is incredibly, absolutely, beautiful.

    Comment by Michelle — June 4, 2004 @ 6:16 pm

  3. fab, steve. truly inspired.

    Comment by maggi — June 4, 2004 @ 6:27 pm

  4. The pouring out of the Spirit on ALL flesh. This is great! Thanks for sharing it Steve.

    Comment by Andrew — June 5, 2004 @ 8:48 am

  5. Still pondering your post. The scrapping of the sermon to ensure that God is revealed to ALL flesh in their own language (ways that they can comprhend it) is so Pentecost!! Thanks again for sharing it Steve.

    Comment by Andrew — June 5, 2004 @ 9:16 am

  6. Awesome – a lesson not forgotten I am sure.

    Comment by Janet — June 5, 2004 @ 4:04 pm

  7. what a real, tangible way to portray the ethereal nature of pentacost – brilliant!

    Comment by bobbie — June 6, 2004 @ 2:07 am

  8. What do I need to do to have the Spirit come into my life?

    Comment by George — June 12, 2004 @ 4:33 pm

  9. Hey Steve, did you get my response to your email?

    Comment by George — June 14, 2004 @ 1:31 pm

  10. thanks steve, its a blessing to have peeps like you to share God’s message online – inspiring post as well!

    Comment by shasa — June 17, 2004 @ 6:25 am

  11. […] Pentecost as a disco ball! These thoughts from Steve Taylor via Clayfire Curator: I shone a red spotlight on a rotating mirror ball. So not only is the rock on […]

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