When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Acts 2
History changes things. People arrive, things happen, God appears in a special way and it makes everything different from then on. This is the historical event we call Pentecost, an annual event in Israel that God chose for this dramatic moment. I want to pick out a few words from the text: “bewilderment… utterly amazed… perplexed… What does this mean?” God is always present, of course, but every now and then makes it obvious, but understanding of the event is anything but obvious. I don’t know about you, but I often ask God to just help it all make sense and the reply often falls someplace between bewilderment and amazement. I take that as proof of God’s presence. Why should the interaction of regular humans and the eternal, all-powerful God be any different? When God ‘shows up’, shouldn’t it overwhelm our minds and blow all our emotional circuits? As C.S. Lewis wrote, if our faith is a ‘house of cards,’ the best things God can do for us is to knock it down. May God give us the sense of wonder and love that we welcome all the ‘what does it mean?’ moments of a living faith.
Lord, don’t leave me where I am. May your presence bewilder and amaze me so I can come to know the real you better this day. Amen.