The Dove and the Flame

Throughout Scripture the symbols of the flame and the dove have been present.  The gentle dove brought the olive branch to Noah to indicate that the waters of The Flood had receeded sufficiently for Noah to open the doors of the Ark on dry ground.  The flames of the Burning Bush were testimony to God's presence when Moses was confronted by the Lord to fulfil his calling as leader of the People of Israel in the Exodus from Egypt.  So it is not unusual for the Dove to appear when Jesus was baptized, and in one Gospel narrative the bystanders heard the voice of the Father affirming that Jesus was God's Beloved Son and all who hear his voice should listen to his message.

Thus, at Pentecost which was celebrated in Israel for centuries as a remembrance of the giving of the Law to Moses at Mt. Sinai, the disciples and Jesus' mother and the other women of Jesus' following were gathered in a place called the Upper Room.  It was there that the Flames of fire appeared over the heads of the people present, and the sound of a great wind roared through the room.  It amazed and may even even terrified the disciples but they had been waiting for the fulfillment of Jesus' promise of the Holy Spirit.

All that happened afterward gave confirmation that the disciples had been transformed.  As they preached to the masses of Jews who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Pentecost obsesrvance, miraculously all who heard their words understood them perfectly, regardless of their countries of origin or their language.  And the power of their words was used to bring conviction to the hearts of the listeners so that nearly 5,000 individuals became believers and were baptized.  

Present day believers are blessed by the comfort of the Holy Spirit as each places their faith in Christ as Lord.  Each year the Church around the world remembers that momentous occasion for the disciples and all the followers gathered in that Upper Room.  It is an occasion to renew our gratitude for the gift of the Spirit and to renew our commitment to Christ and to following his words and teachings as we are reminded by the Spirit in our lives.

"Breathe on my Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew;
That I may love what Thou doest love,
And do what Thou wouldst do."

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