And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. Acts 2:2
In the late eighteenth century, wind was oil. Before petroleum began to fill the veins of the industrial revolution, wind filled the sails of adventure and commerce, and ‘Britannia ruled the waves.’ Enormous sheets of canvas hung like the blades of a turbine in the form of topsails and topgallants on barks, frigates, and British Men of War. Steam engines were still a novelty and Ben Franklin had just recently discovered electricity using his kite and string. Inquisitive men were probing the powers of the universe and searching the globe for its hidden treasures.
Leaving the calm, comfort, and safety of the harbor, brave men worked the spider web of line and sail, in a kind of dance with the wind. As the wind increased the first mate would order more cloth to rise in procession like faces on a totem pole, and as the wind increased even more, one by one, the sails would be taken in and furled. When the winds blew in storm like fury all canvas was removed and captains (as in the Book of Acts) would "let her drive."
Steam, Oil, and other forms of power have seen the disappearance of schooners and those who knew the art of the ancient mariner and skill needed to ride the wind. There was a time when lighthouses dotted the shoreline and men studied the tide’s ebb and flow. There was a time when men were close to nature and much closer to God. There were times when sailors dreaded the doldrums as much as the fury found in rounding Cape Horn.
Perhaps a seaman or midshipman out at sea in the eighteenth century never broke the sound barrier when it came to speed, but somehow I think he experienced life more while feeling the wind upon his cheek, smelling the salt in the air, hearing the breaking of waves on a wooden hull, and he came closer to touching heaven than modern man ever will with all his technology.
When the Ship of Zion first left port in Acts Chapter One, it waited for the wind and the tide of the New Testament. The early church comprised of one hundred and twenty souls, gathered in the port of an appointed place on the orders of its Master and Commander. The Book of Acts is a divinely preserved ship’s log. In it we see her sails catching the wind. When those sheets were not filled with the Spirit they were being filled with prayer. Never was there a ship more beautiful or one that moved with more grace, or was under more power than she. Reading about it in books, even in God’s Book is not enough. Standing on the dock and watching it set sail, just will not do. We must not miss this boat. The church was christened on Pentecost. While it is true that heaven is paid for in full, it is also true, that those who gathered in the upper room that day were those who would gladly pay whatever it might cost just to be on board.