Monday, May 28, 2012

Wonder and Scorn

“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?

1 comment:

  1. The way we spend money...always telling the cashiers, "No thanks, I don't want your credit card. We pay for everything in cash..." We're weird. But (apart from medical debt from Lily's birth), we are debt-free and so thankful. And God keeps providing random sums of cash from anonymous donors. Okay, the anonymous donor has only happened once in the past few months, but the rest of our bills always come under what we have to spend, which is a miracle in itself. Little by little, my faith is being built stronger and my fingers are being pried off of the controls of my life, to the point where I actually mean it when I say, "No, I don't take birth control...If we get pregnant, we are trusting God to provide what we need." Yeah, it freaks me out every time I think that I'm pregnant again, but I am praying to embrace the GOOD gift of a baby. I mean, how many times did an unanticipated or unlikely pregnancy change the fate of an entire NATION?? Sarah and Isaac, Hannah and Samuel, Leah and her many sons, Rachel and Joseph & Benjamin, Elizabeth and John, Mary and Jesus--I'm in good company biblically when I have NO idea how God is going to meet my needs and still to trust Him to do so anyway. Thank you, Bethany, for asking me to reflect on this. I rejoice in my reproductive capabilities! :o) This can be hard to say after having a baby and being exhausted...Lord, grow my faith to know that, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, I can follow You and be the mom You have meant me to be, no matter what come. Children are a heritage from the Lord, the psalmist tells us in chapter 127, like arrows in the hands of a momma-warrior..."Blessed is the momma whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame..."