“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 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. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” ( Acts 2:1 – 4)
When significant events in history are talked about and recalled, it is not unusual to ask one another or reflect with one’s self – where were you when this happened? The disciples had come together, either to worship or for common support. As commanded by Jesus, they had not scattered to their homes or to other places of shelter. Besides the core twelve there were many other like minded believers. I do have to wonder though, did the tongues of fire and the Holy Spirit come only to those core twelve? We read other places, most notably in my mind now, the conversion of the centurion Cornelius & his household, that the Holy Spirit was not reserved for the core twelve. Like many tenets of faith, each person has to discern for themselves what to believe. I believe that in attendance that day were all those who believed in Jesus as the Messiah and were devote in following the instructions that he had left. But, it was not just the followers of Jesus who had reason to remember where they were.
“Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs–in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” (Verses 5 – 12)
Imagine if you would, beloved reader, that these names of places were replaced by names of places in our modern world; not just North America, but names/places from all over the globe. And names of people/backgrounds very different and diverse from one another. Yes, beloved reader, I mean the marginalized and maligned. Those who are hated by others; those follow paths that do not conform to what is considered mainstream society. Imagine, just imagine beloved reader! That the Holy Spirit included all of those who anyone would think outside the grace of the Divine!! A act of unity and harmony that the world has never seen, but so badly needs!!
“But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” (Verse 13)
Do you remember the psalm from Saturday? About the scoffers? Yes, in verse 13 that is what they were like.
“But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.” (Verses 14 – 20)
Pentecost is the dividing line between the Sundays of Easter and the Days of Ordinary Times. But for the disciples/apostles, they were far from ordinary. We call it ordinary times because the festival days of the church and far and in-between, unlike the festival and celebration (and Lenten) days that we have come through. If they were “just ordinary days” we would not grow and mature in our faith. The seed was planted at the beginning of the church year with Christmas. It sprouted and grew through the days after Christmas, and was challenged during Lent. At Easter it bloomed forth, and the days after Easter it grew even more study, ready to take on the work. The days of work that comprise the Divine’s mission in the world are far from ordinary. But, so they are named. But you know, beloved reader, and I know – these days have the potential to be extraordinary. Why?
“Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ “ (Verse 21)
Shalom & Selah!