Car Radio

I fully acknowledge that I write and talk a lot about music. Music is vital to me. Since I was
a kid, I’ve been really passionate about it, and I listen as much as possible. In the car, at the
house, and in the office I often have music playing. So, it would then follow that much of my
writing centers on aspects of music. But I promise the next blog will have nothing to do with
music. Chances are it will be about food- one of my other passions.

But I digress. In the car this morning, I was flipping around on the radio. On my car radio’s
face, I have six pre-programmable options. I’ll cycle through them and get really frustrated
because it seems like when one station is on commercial, they all are. There’s nothing worse
than radio commercials, and I’m so used to DVR television, I feel like I should be able to fast
forward through the ads. But I can’t and so I work the pre-program buttons like a 1950’s
switchboard operator until I catch a decent song.

Even in that frustration though, here’s the thing that makes the radio great: I happened to hit
the #1 station button just as one of my favorite songs that I hadn’t heard or thought about in a
long time came on. It was a total surprise and kind of made my morning better. Now, I know
that in ten years, we’ll probably have microchips in our heads that play any song into our brain
immediately after we think it. Hypothetically, if you’re a Hanson fan, as most of you probably
are- then you could hear “Mmm-bop” anytime you wanted. But the radio is great because it
catches you off guard. I’m not in total control of the radio, and in some ways I’m at the mercy of
the DJ. And that’s why it’s exciting to hear a song on the radio that you love, even if you own it
on mp3 or CD. And every now and then, you get completely caught off guard in a very pleasant
way. In some ways, there’s spontaneity with the radio, and spontaneity can sometimes be hard
to find these days.

Lately, I’ve been rooting down in the first part of the books of Acts. One of the more attention
grabbing accounts is when the Holy Spirit moves amongst the Apostles.

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a might rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. (Acts 2.1-2, ESV)

The apostles were together, and suddenly and spontaneously, the Holy Spirit moved and
worked and empowered them. One of the main the ideas here is that the promise Jesus has
made in regards to the work of the Spirit, recorded in Acts 1.8 and also recorded by John in his
gospel (chapters 14 and 16) is fulfilled for the earliest believers forming the early church. This
is not the first time the Scriptures record the work of the Spirit, of course. For instance, when
Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist the Spirit is very present. Also, immediately after that, it is
the Spirit that leads Jesus into the wilderness. And here, in Acts 2, the Spirit is working again.
True Christian faith teaches that the Holy Spirit exists as a ‘person’ of the eternal Godhead
(‘person’ is used as an expression of distinct personality or presence). Christ followers are
monotheistic, affirming one God, but God is also three distinct ‘persons’ in that oneness- Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit. So, God has always existed as one, yet also always existed in community.
I know, very much an enigma, but wonderfully beautiful.

In the Acts passage, the Spirit is described as a rushing wind. This is familiar language as
one of the biblical Greek words for Spirit is a synonym for wind which beautifully captures the
spontaneity and the uncontainable power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, the Holy Spirit is not just
simply like wind- it is a personality of the Trinity. For instance, in the aforementioned promise by
Jesus in John 14 and 16; the Holy Spirit is described by the Greek word, paraclete. This word
means comforter, helper, or advocate. This is vitally important in our understanding of the Holy
Spirit.

For example, someone recently tried to explain to me that the Holy Spirit was not part of the
Godhead (another term for Trinity) but was just God showing his energy. He stated that the
Spirit was not in and of itself anything. He said, “It’s like electricity- you can see it, but it is not a
personality of any sort.” My response to him referenced back to Jesus’ description of it being an
Advocate and Counselor. I replied, “If I’m in a courtroom, in the midst of a trial, I need an active,
working Advocate and Helper. I’m not going to be comforted by the fact that the lights in the
courtroom are on.”

The beauty of the Holy Spirit is that it works to our aid and our help. It so often reveals its true
presence and work when we need it most. It feels like the spontaneous and unpredictable wind.
It may often surprise you and catch you off guard. But the Spirit, with its distinctness and specific
personality within the oneness of God, works just at the perfect time to comfort you in sadness,
advocate for you in trials of faith, and help you in times of anxiety and anguish. It’s a blessing to
be surprised and caught off guard by a Helper when we need it most.

Guiding real people to embrace a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ