Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Spirit Blows Love for Everyone - No One is Alien or a Stranger

Acts 2:1-8 by Rev. David L.S. Robertson
Series:Daring Hope in Turbulent Times

…And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Whenever the Bible tells a story about a new beginning, we can be sure that God’s spirit will be blowing through the narrative. The Spirit blows over the waters at creation’s birth; The spirit/breath of God blows into the nostrils of Adam, Jesus’s breathes upon the disciples and gives them the Holy Spirit; a mighty wind blows and tongues as if of fire rest upon the disciples and suddenly, the people of the cosmopolitan city of Jerusalem hear one another, in their own language. It’s truly beyond our imagination to be sure, and yet sparks awareness that something new is beginning. The Holy Spirit blows through the rafters and streets of the city and with that, the tradition marks the beginning of an intentional community of faith led by God’s spirit and shaped by the wisdom and teachings of the risen Christ. This is a story about beginnings. It’s designed to convey drama and foster inspiration and awe in the reader. It’s not intended to be factual or historical. This is a creation story about the early church. It draws on images of wind and flames and the amazing capacity for everyone to hear each other in their own languages. Kind of strange for our 21st century ears, I know. But, wow. I found myself sitting with the whole thing around language and understanding. Somehow, all the different peoples represented in the story are hearing each other despite their different linguistic back grounds. I love languages. I enjoy how learning a language is a doorway into culture, a way of thinking, a mindset with unique and wonderful expressions of humour, and story telling and seeing the world. Now, it’s a human defense to distrust differences and not venture far away from one’s cultural group. And, it’s painstakingly tedious to learn a language and culture and still, not entirely possible to learn it all. Yet this story goes in the opposite direction. It is not distracted by differences and diversity (the many languages and peoples are present). The story is meant for everyone. Its wisdom, compassion and justice transcend that which usually divides or excludes. The message seeks first the human heart, and that deeper expression of humanity that we all share. It is a truth that we can all hear each in our own native language. It is a truth that includes and extends beyond the Jewish world into the cosmopolitan, multi-cultural world of the time. It is a deeper “knowing” that reaches into the soul and sparks a spiritual awareness and consciousness that helps us hear and see each other.
Duration:14 mins 46 secs