“What can this mean?”“They must be drunk.”
Backwoods Galileans begin speaking in the languages of the vast world, telling stories of God’s mighty deeds. Rumors of a rushing wind and tongues of flame flicker through the crowd, and the witnesses respond with wonder--what can this mean?--or with scorn.
Peter the Apostle answered both the amazement and the scorn of the crowd, explaining that he and his provincial friends were swept in the power of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling the words of the prophet.
This is the legacy of Pentecost, the birthday of the Christian Church. As children of this Church, wonder and scorn are our birthright.
Discussing this passage in Sunday School, our teacher asked, “Are you living your life in such a way that it makes no sense without the Holy Spirit?”
Throughout worship, and even during the quiet, companionable hours of my Sabbath rest, this question haunted me. When I have seen men and women who handle money, organize time, enter relationships, refine professions in ways that cannot be explained in any terms other than “She has been baptized in the name of Christ Jesus?” or “See in him the words of the prophet fulfilled?” Does my own life manifest such holy nonsense?
It is not too difficult to come up with dramatic examples--MotherTeresa’s brilliant labor in Calcutta, for example, or Lottie Moon’s apostolic work among the Chinese. But I spent more time pondering how we should be amazing the world in our own ordinary times. When the wind is still, the flames have vanished, and my tongue knows only in its faltering English, does my life provoke wonder? Does anyone ask, “What can this mean?”
Have you ever known anyone whose life could only be explained in terms of his or her faith? What are some “ordinary” ways you hope your life speaks of God’s mighty deeds?