E-Church for Sunday, May 31st 2020
Lectionary Readings: (Remember you can click each scripture to read it.)
The first six verses tell of the coming of the Spirit on the little band of followers who had lost their way when they lost their leader. Before that, these twelve did almost everything wrong. They missed the point; they ran and hid; they got in the way; they didn’t score too well on the disciple aptitude test. Before this moment in the story, you just know that if Jesus was serious about leaving this whole church thing in their hands, disaster was sure to follow.
But then something happened—the something described in the first four verses of chapter two of the Acts of the Apostles. Something noisy, like a violent wind. A tornado, that sounded like a "freight train" roaring through the room. Anyone in the South that's been through a Tornado knows what I'm talking about! Something that gives a simple choice - get out of the way or get on board.
Then tongues, Luke says, tongues as of fire, divided, meaning coming from a common source but able to spread out, like a vine and its branches, reaching out to touch each one. And these tongues, these fire-like divided branches rested on each of them. Rested. Doesn’t that seem odd to you? Rested on each of them. Not dove right down to the core; not cut through to where soul and spirit meets, joints and marrow; not cleansed them like a purifying fire, washing them like fuller’s soap. The sound was violent, but the tongues rested. And what was the result of that resting flame? What did it do to them or for them? Luke says they could speak new languages!
Most of you know that our daughter-in-law, Aliexa, is a native of Puerto Rico- and proud! She moved with her family to the states when she was 15 years old, so Spanish is her first language. She and her family have introduced our son, and us, to the wonderful world of Puerto Rican culture: it's spicy and colorful cuisine- bright clothes- lively and exciting music- and a humble and proud people who value family, integrity, and hard work. As you might imagine over the last almost seven years they have been together, she has taught our son to speak Spanish. A few months ago our son told us he was taking Spanish on Rosetta Stone- an educational app that teaches people new languages. And I asked him why because it seemed his Spanish was plenty good to have a conversation. He told me, "I want to understand all the little nuances- and phrases- of her particular dialect of Spanish so that I can understand as much about her and her culture as possible."
You see when the Spirit comes, we can speak in languages that we didn’t even know we knew. Instead of languages of hurt and anger and revenge, we are fluent in forgiveness and reconciliation! Instead of limitation and doubt and anxiety, with the Spirit, we speak hope and joy like natives. Amen? Instead of accusation and blame, love rolls off our tongues as though we were born to it, with a perfect accent as though it were a part of us. With the Spirit we seek to understand- to learn as much about loving our neighbors as we possibly can so that we can love together and lean into life- TOGETHER! Isn't that amazing? With all that is going on in our world currently- let us seek the Spirit- let us cry out for the Spirit of Pentecost that we may learn the nuances- the dialects- the pain and frustrations of their lives! That we may listen- shhhh.... hear that? Our neighbors are telling their story in their cultural language..... just listen... listen to understand.... listen to love.
Come Holy Spirit!
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