They didn’t know it was a birthday.
I’m sure they were aware that nearly every day is somebody’s birthday. Maybe they thought about that. Maybe they didn’t. If they did, they probably moved right along, realizing that they didn’t know the person (persons?) whose birthday it was.
And in any case, the birth they didn’t know to celebrate hadn’t happened yet.
“They” were Jesus’ friends and followers, getting together in a house in Jerusalem. It had been fifty days since that terrible and yet miraculous Passover, the Passover during which Jesus had been arrested, tried, convicted, crucified, and killed. It had been forty-seven days since that starting and miraculous Sunday when they found that the Crucified One had become the Risen One, that Jesus walked the Earth once more with a new life and a new power.
The birth, however, hadn’t happened yet, so they didn’t know (fifty days after Passover) that it was a birthday.
They were together to share stories, and take comfort in each other, and to pray.
Suddenly, there came the sound of a great wind, howling through the streets of the city, roaring through old Jerusalem.
Startled, they looked up, and to their astonishment what they saw was as surprising as what they heard. Something like tongues of fire danced about above their heads, just like the candle flames on a birthday cake.
Birthday candles. Like on a birthday cake. The birth was happening.
(OK, I know that they didn’t do birthday cakes with candles in the first century.)
Like a child filled with sugary cake and icing, they couldn’t stay still. They spilled out of the house into the city streets, to find others outside as well. They’d heard the wild rushing wind and come to see what was going on.
Jesus’ friends started telling them. They told them about the wind of the Holy Spirit, but they told them even more: about Jesus and his kindness. About Jesus’ teachings and compassion. They told them about his bravery in the face of death. They told about his resurrection to new life, and they told them how it showed how much God loved them.
How much God loves everyone.
How much God loves us.
It didn’t seem to matter what language the other people spoke, at least not on that day. Jesus’ friends, in that moment, could speak to everyone and be understood.
And so the Church was born.
Photo found on Pixabay offered as public domain.