I have only once in my life found myself riding across the crest of the waves behind the taut expanse of a spinnaker. Filled with every drop of wind it could capture, this jauntily coloured sail dragged the yacht recklessly and wonderfully across the water on a thrilling ride which I shall never forget. On Sundays I have frequently found myself towed along behind a windbag in the pulpit on a less than thrilling journey that I would rather forget. Sadly, said windbag has occasionally been me!
Like many other preachers I find myself today contemplating the preaching of Pentecost this coming weekend. In doing so, I would far rather be like the spinnaker – filled to bursting with God’s wind and taking the congregation along for the ride; than like the unappealing windbag filled with stale breath which blesses no-one. Maybe every preacher needs to have a Pentecost, rather than just talking about one? Maybe she or he needs to feel again the helplessness of those early disciples charged with evangelising the world and knowing they could not do it without God’s spectacular help?
Of course, there is a risk to doing the latter. At Pentecost the disciples embarked on a journey which began with the church’s birth and ended with many of their violent deaths. Maybe it is not so much Pentecostal as Pentecostly preaching we need.