“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.    Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability”. 

(Acts 2:1-4)

      Some years ago, two young men went camping in the Rocky Mountains. They were having a great time until an early snow storm struck with unusual ferocity.  They knew they were in deep trouble unless they could get back to the lodge from which they had started.  The wind was howling, the        temperature was well below freezing and the wind-whipped snow was so thick that they couldn't see more than few inches.  They started for the safety of the lodge but they hadn't gone a hundred yards when they realized they were going to have to hold hands or they were going to get separated from each other.  In spite of their best efforts they quickly lost the trail and just as quickly were totally lost.

At this point they were in real trouble.  Before long they would freeze to death.  Near panic they kept moving to try to keep warm. For two hours they struggled through the rapidly accumulating snow searching for the trail all the while getting colder and colder.  Suddenly they both stumbled over something in the snow and fell to the ground.  They quickly realized to their horror that it was another camper.  What should they do? Help the man or leave him?  Their first thought was to leave the man and try to save themselves but they knew they couldn't do that.  They brushed the snow off the man and rubbed his legs and arms to improve his circulation.  They dragged him to his feet and got him to stamp his feet.  Within minutes he was able, with his arms around the two of them, to shuffle on.  There progress was slow but they struggled on in the direction they believed the lodge to be.  After two hours they were    totally spent and ready to give up.  The man they had picked up pointed to a light off to their left.  It    was the lodge.  Glory be to God! They were saved.

When they stumbled into the lodge totally exhausted and shivering with cold, the staff rushed to their aid.  They got them out of their wet clothes and put them in tubs of body temperature water for an hour to bring their body temperatures back to normal.  They carefully bandaged frost bitten toes and   fingers and wrapped them in warm blankets to get them feeling warm.  Then they explained to them that they had survived because they had held onto each other. The extra efforts and the combined body heat had kept them going long enough to get to the lodge.  They survived because they held on to each other.

This story points to the importance of the church.  It gives us a community to hold onto and    people to keep us going.  The Pentecost story reminds us that we are all family. On the day of Pentecost all the people from different nations, cultures, races and languages were drawn together and heard the good news of God's grace.  The symbol that day was not an adversarial fist but the open hand of fellowship.  We need to see others, not as adversaries or competitors but as brothers and sisters to hold hands with.

In Christ's Service

Rev. Harry Brown