Lectionary Studies and Practical Theology
The Rev. Dr. Craven E. Williams
Covenant Church-United Methodist
The Bible loves new beginnings:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
“In the beginning was the Word.”
With Noah and his family, God began again to create anew.
The Gospel of Luke begins with the birth of a baby.
The Book of Acts begins with the birth of a Church .
Remember the wind that blew in the beginning? “...a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.” Well, that same wind was blowing again in a mighty way on the day of Pentecost: “...there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, …” Suddenly these apologetic apostles became daring disciples. These fearful followers of Jesus became courageous crusaders for Christ.
All this talk about wind and fire and speaking in foreign tongues is exciting. The tongues that were singing out were not a babble that no one could understand, as was the case with the Tower of Babel. Rather it was a clear message bursting out for all to hear “in Christ there is no east and west in him no south or north.” It’s not so much that the church now had a mission; rather, God’s mission now had a church. Because of the Pandemic, Church doors may be closed but in the spirit of Pentecost, we are actively being the church as we care for our members and our community. After the Covid floodwaters recede, we will have a new beginning.
Acts 2:1-21 (NRSV)
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ 13But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’
14 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. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 “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.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below,blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Join Pastor Craven for a weekly lectionary study:
The Covenant Gospel Cafe ZOOM
Thursdays at 6:00 PM
ID# 948 2009 8201
Study for May 28: Acts 2:1-21