Day of Pentecost: The substituted Old Testament Passage – Speaking the language of faith and belief

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.”

Where two or three, or more, are gathered wondrous things can happen!

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.”

When I was growing up, and growing up in faith, speaking in tongues was not something that usually happened to a person. It was seen as a “special” sort of gift, and one that was commended by others. It was a sign of devotion and strong, deep faith in God. It was in a word, cool! If you did not have that gift, that was okay because it was a rare gift and blessing from God. If you did have it though . . . wow! . . . . cool!

Now, I am not so sure it gives a person a “leg up on faith” or any particular enlightenment of faith that is not available to others. And especially when I are reading now this passage, it was done for a purpose set in motion by the Spirit and not because of any particular attribute or accolade for the disciples.

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?”

What did it mean? It meant that at this opportune time the Spirit used the disciples to jump start the ministry they were called to. It also jump started doubt and disbelief in the purposed and tenets of Christianity because . . .

But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Peter, the disciple who was most likely to trip and make a misstep in his faith was suddenly imbued with leadership, ability, and the calling of preaching.

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.” (Acts 2:1-17)

I am not sure what the “last days” part means, but it seems to us who follow in this faith that it was the beginning or first days of the spreading of Christianity. The Spirit uses us and whatever circumstances that seems best to spread faith. If we let ourselves be used, and allow the Spirit to make good use of the talents that we have and are given, then the spreading of faith will continue on from generation to generation. The celebration and remembrance of Pentecost is not just about what happened back then, but the hope, promise, and foretaste of what might yet come. The prophesying, seeing of visions and dreaming dreams is not done . . . far from being over! But it is up to us to be open to it, to gather together in faith, and to carry out the plans that the Spirit sets before us. May you beloved reader keep yourself open to the Spirit and to speak what the Spirit gives you to speak. Selah!

About Carole Boshart

I have blog called "Pondering From the Pacific" and it is based on my reflections on the world - sometimes religious/spiritual, and sometimes not so much. Some days roll along smoothly and some days are like rocky shale. But always I cling to my faith . . . . and my sense of humor!

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