Monday, May 17, 2010

The Feast of Pentecost - Acts 2:1-21

Acts 2:1-21
Lutherans are rarely mistaken for Pentecostals and even when the charismatic renewal blew through the church our version of Pentecost was more polite than possessed. It could be our Nordic or Germanic heritage where church doesn’t look anything like drinking new wine in the morning. But that doesn’t mean we are less spirit filled or on fire for the Lord. It just means our expression of Holy Spirit fire tends to toast, not burn to a crisp. It is a mistake to envy the more demonstrative Holy Spirit folk or think that they are holier than thou, though thou art free to raise a hand while singing A Mighty Fortress or shout “Amen” if the preaching warrants such a response. While those things are all well and good, this text is not about personal expressions of emotional piety. The day of Pentecost is about speaking the story of Jesus in a language people can understand. On that first day of the “last days” it meant speaking in the tongues of Gentile nations. In these “last days” it means speaking the story to those who are by self definition spiritual but not religious, but in truth still seeking for something that satisfies the restless heart. In these “last days” the church must step outside of its holy halls and wake up from the illusion of privilege and power. It means we stop lusting after the myth of a Christian nation and acting as if we are victims of a secular conspiracy. For those of us who call on the name of the Lord in this day of the “last days” it means speaking the story subversively so that sowing the seeds of curiosity we might be asked why we long for peace, why we feed the hungry, why we share ourselves in service, why we hope, why we love. It may be that speaking from the heart about the Spirit that fills us with peace those who are spiritual but not religious might be tempted to be religiously spiritual which might be an apt description of a Lutheran Pentecostal.

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