The Flying Monkey
Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:25-35, 37; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4-15
''And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.'' Words just cannot do justice to how they must have experienced this incoming of the Holy Spirit. Did you know that your brain has special wiring for things like this? Scientists have measured how long it takes between when you hear a sound and when you are able to start thinking about what you heard. But there are some types of sounds that bypass this circuit and instead the signals take a direct path into a more primitive part of your brain. These ''fight or flight'' pathways are literally ten times faster than the normal, thinking pathways. Presumably our ancestors were able to get moving and flee from danger faster as a result of this high speed wiring of the brain.
Loud, sudden noises are one type of sound that gets your immediate attention. Adrenalin fills your body, your hair stands up, you get goosebumps, and your entire body is ready to run. This is the physiology of surprise and that is what this story is telling us. Various translations and a look at the Greek describe their reaction as bewildered, amazed and astonished, amazed and perplexed, confused, in an uproar, beside themselves, blown away, thoroughly disoriented, completely uncomprehending. Have you ever experienced any of those?
Once the Spirit has grabbed the attention of everyone present, the story goes on to tell how all these different languages can suddenly be understood by everyone. I wonder if a sustained connection to the more primitive parts of our brains might have facilitated this mutual understanding. It is this same kind of connection that children use when learning language. All this speculation makes me wonder if children might be able to teach us a thing or two about the Holy Spirit.
It takes energy to produce a sound. There would ...
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