Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mount St. Helens and the Work of the Spirit

Twenty-five years ago today, I sat on a life guard stand at a beach on Lake Washington and witnessed with my own eyes the most significant geological event in this century-- the eruption of Mount St. Helens. When I close my eyes, I can relive the moments leading up to the eruption. I can remember the weather (lifeguards tend to take notice of the weather). I can remember the sense of wonder and even awe that I felt as I watched a plume of ash and smoke blast miles into the atmosphere. When the dust settled, the landscape surrounding the mountain looked like a lunar landscape. A thin layer of volcanic dust coated everything. Those who were stubborn enough not to get out of harms way perished without a trace.

Last Sunday was Pentecost. A long time ago, a bunch of rag-tag disciples who were down on their luck and looking for jobs had their world turned upside-down by a blast of the spirit. Some people thought they'd begun their happy hour drinking early in the morning. Others were amazed at the power and truth of the Gospel proclaimed in languages that the disciples were too dumb to know. Still others witness what was going on around them and decided that if it wasn't strong drink, or manipulation, then it must be God. So they believed.

The only recorded memory of this event that we have comes from the stylized version of this story that we find in the Book of Acts. Since it is not an everyday occurance that people's hair catches on fire without being consumed, it is often difficult for us to imagine what it must have been like to be there and feel the wind blowing through our hair. Yet, every year when Pentecost rolls around, the church is reminded that the work of God that began with fire and wind is still moving on the face of the earth. God is still stirring up dust and desire in the hearts and minds of people in places that I can't even pronounce. And a thin layer of "dust" is scattered throughout the earth as the kingdom advances in more ways that I can imagine. And when the dust settles, there will be some who are too stubborn to get out of the way. And when they get bowled over by the dust of the spirit, they may come to their senses. Then again, some may perish without a trace. I hope I'm among the former.


At 11:44 AM, Blogger theultrarev said...

I'd love to hear more about your Mt St Helen's experience. Give us the blow by blow and how your life was affected.


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