Today's Lectionary Text
When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?”
On Sunday many of us read (or heard read) the Pentecost story from the second chapter of Acts. It is a familiar story to me, as it no doubt is to most – if not all – of us. Yet, as is often the case for me, reading a familiar passage anew brings new insights. As I read this familiar story last week, I was struck in a new way by just how amazing the results of that morning were. What the congregation of believers in that room experienced as the Holy Spirit came to them was beyond anything any of them had experienced. Then came the gift of languages so that everyone could understand what was being said about Jesus.
God was doing something new – a new thing in the lives of that first congregation of believers, and a new thing in the building of Christ’s church. God asked those followers of Jesus to do something entirely outside their frame of reference – and they did it! Without hesitation, they poured out into the streets of Jerusalem where they proclaimed the good news of Jesus to everyone.
Pentecost gob smacks us with the realization that God doesn’t always call us to do things in the same old comfortable way we have always done. Sometimes God requires new things from us – things that do not come easily to us, or which cause us to hesitate. We tend to prefer that which is comfortable. But the comfortable may leave us stuck in a rut that keeps us from growing into the fully functional people of God we are called to be for the building up of God’s kingdom.
So, what new thing is God doing in our lives today? What challenges are you facing – in your personal life, in your workplace, or at church? What is God asking you to do to help build up God’s kingdom? And what actions are you willing to take in order to further the building up of the kingdom?
We all have choices to make throughout our lives. When life offers a chance to do a new thing we can choose to hold back, hanging on to the comfort of the familiar. Or we can accept the challenge of new adventures, new possibilities – and a new relationship with the Holy Spirit who keeps us company every day of our lives.
-- Robbie Fall, retired elder
Prayer for Reflection
Holy Spirit, flow through us. Open our hearts and our minds to new possibilities, new opportunities to grow in faith and to become fully committed to doing what we can to build up God’s Kingdom. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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