Amazed

Pentecost
Acts 2: 1-21

I am a sucker for wonder. I love to see a waxing or waning moon at twilight, when you can just make out its three-dimensionality. I jump at the chance to look through a telescope at Saturn, and admit to the occasional, brief squint at the sun—that massive ball that is, for us, a constant, consistent, continuous explosion of the nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium. Recently, I experienced a glimpse of the sacred, for me a holy moment, while watching a CGI animation of the Earth’s magnetic field dispersing the lethal solar wind that would otherwise strip off our protective ozone layer. A giant shield surrounding the planet, our magnetic field means we can bike to the bakery for bread, through a gentle breeze, without fear of burning to a crisp; it means that you and I can exist.

Creation is one of God’s great deeds of power. And it is brought to bear again on the apostles, gathered to celebrate Pentecost (the festival fifty days from Passover that marks the gift of the law to Moses and the Israelites, and the celebration of the wheat harvest). Unlike after Jesus’ death, the disciples are not hiding in fear and trembling. Post-resurrection and ascension witnesses now, they are acting in faith, devoting themselves to prayer (1:14) and seeking Judas Iscariot’s replacement.

Then on Pentecost, a sound like the rush of a violent wind fills the house in which they sit, and they are touched by the power of God, on fire with the Holy Spirit. It is an act of re-creation, a re-uniting of humanity after the scattering of Babel–but for God’s purposes, for Jesus’ kingdom come.

And at this sound the crowd gathered (2:6)…

A sound like the rush of a violent wind has caught the neighbours’ attention. Jerusalem is filled with Jews from all known nations, come to mark the great festival of Pentecost. An international crowd is drawn to the house, where they are amazed to hear God’s great deeds of power—creation, survival of the Great Flood, the covenant through Abraham, the exodus and gift of the law, the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Christ—proclaimed in their own languages by the Galilean apostles.

The crowd is amazed.

To a-maze is to confound; the paths marking “how it’s always been,” the known roads, are reconfigured, leaving us confused and open to fear–but also to wonderment and possibility, to curiosity, longing and fulfillment.

God has made this opening as God is wont to do (when the Israelites find themselves between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, Moses is instructed to tell the Israelites to go forward; a way is made for them, an opening to cross over, when the waters of the sea are parted), but it is up to us to take those openings. And Peter does. Preaching the good news, he shows the a-mazed the Way of Christ. God has come to save all who call out to the Lord in need.

We are the inheritors of these Galilean apostles. We are a people who are called to faithfully devote ourselves to prayer and worship; who cry out to the Lord; who watch for God’s openings; drunk on the Holy Spirit, we proclaim to all the good news of Christ, crucified and risen, our Judge and our Hope.

Join the Conversation. Leave a comment.

*