Acts 2 – lc

Pentecost! If anything could be considered the central chapter of Acts, it would be this: the continuing activity of the H.S.

That’s what Acts is all about; the remaining chapters describe further activity of the H.S., and the pity is that so many people think it ends with chapter 28. No, no, no. It goes on right down to 2006, and it’s not just about the orthodox tradition, it’s about a great deal more, eg all the ‘heretics’ as well and much more than that.

We already discerned that Pentecost is the reversal of the Tower of Babel, when we learn to understand one another’s language; the H.S. doesn’t mean for us to speak and understand only our tribalistic lingo; the gift to us is to understand the ‘Hindoo’, the Sarecen, the mulatto, yes, the chocolates.
The original beneficiaries of this gift went out to all these types and many, many others.

Pentecost freed the original community (who had developed complete community) from any further dependence upon the law, the Testament which had bound the Hebrews (what Blake meant by ‘mind forg’d manacles’). And by the same token we are freed from our little parochial viewpoints- if we experience pentecost.

Stephen expressed that freedom, and it cost him his mortal life- and a crown of glory. Few or any of us will choose his route, but to whatever degree we have the courage we may witness to the glory that has been given to us. Glory be; that is the H.S. working in us as it (he,she) did in Stephen, Peter and Paul.


9 responses

  1. Hi Larry. Pentecost is very interesting. When I was a teen, I had a friend who took me to a traveling religious presentation. The minister would ask people to come up front, where they would be “slain by the spirit” … they would fall to the foor and then begin talking in “tongues”. It was impressive, if a little scary.

  2. Ah, the promise of the indwelling Spirit – not just coming upon us but filling our being, awakening us to the residing Witness within. We’ve made such a muddle of this in the church. I have an unusual (I think) testimony of an experience with this “baptism”. Not sure if it is appropriate, though.

  3. Crystal: re 20th century pentecostalism, there’s a lot more to be said about that subject:1. Like other Christian groups there are ideologues and more enlightened ones. I too had negative experiences with the ones who were more interested in “giving you the baptism” than who you were.But the positive side is worth far more writing about.2. I had a short, brief connection with a bunch of Methodist preacher charismatics and came to feel they were more ideological than human.Then in 1974 I went to Washington to explore the C of S. An old raw-boned Texas PhD was one of my first friends, and he was gaga about what he called his Catholic holy-rollers. He took me to the Georgetown Prayer group.There were about 300 people in that room at Georgetown U., all gathered in a large circle (several layers). Nothing was happening; nobody seemed in charge (it was remarkably like an unprogrammed Quaker meeting). Somebody sort of raised a tone; others joined in harmonically (me too); it was a thrilling sound. After a while it died down; after another while somebody rose and witnessed to his faith; more silence.I found it extremely impressive. There was another very similar group at Catholic U. (That worship group was probably as important to my Texas friend as your St. Ignatius Spiritual Exercises were to you.)One of my Methodist preacher friends, the one I had maximum respect for, went off to Columbia with a Catholic priest, bringing pentecostalism to that country.Pentecostalism has become the primary ‘protestant’ movement in Latin American, millions of them.3. I meet all faiths at the hospital. I have to attest that in general the pentecostals show the most steadfast, cheerful, faithful demeanor. Blessing on them, and on you, dear friend.

  4. Twyla, our comments crossed. Re “Not sure if it is appropriate, though.” Yes! Please!

  5. Thanks for the info, Larry … interesting about the Catholic U and Georgetown – a Jesuit school.Twyla – now you have to tell us 🙂

  6. I was raised Church of God (out of Anderson, Indiana, as opposed to the Church of God out of Cleveland, Tennessee). Opposed is a good word. The Tenn. group is pentecostal, the other, well, not. In fact, people who spoke in “tongues” were thought of to be almost demon-possessed. I found this out later. While growing up, I heard little to nothing about the Holy Spirit or the “babtism” or anything to do with spiritual gifts or the supernatural, etc.When I was 14, we moved to a tiny town in Kansas. I was from the Chicago area and this was a big change. I struggled to fit in, frankly didn’t at all and left home after living there less than a year, running back to Illinois.Before I left, however, a girl from school invited me to a “prayer meeting”. I was shocked and pleased. Someone actually befriending me? So I went.I’d never been to anything like this. It was in someone’s home. Everyone sat around and talked, then they began to pray. They all prayed out loud, at the same time, which was unusual enough for me. I seemed to hear some mumbling, but I was nervous and didn’t think much of it.Someone asked me if I was “filled with the Spirit”. I didn’t know. Never heard it put that way. They asked me did I want to be. Sure, why not? They asked me to sit in the center of room and they all crowded around me, laying hands on me and praying. I was nervous, never had anyone lay hands on me before like this. The praying seemed musical, with rising and falling and it seemed to go on and on and I began to get this weird feeling.Then it happened. Suddenly I felt a jolt, like an electric shock, run through my body. I shot up like a cannon. I felt like I had the energy of the sun dancing around under my skin. I ran out the back door and up a hill. There were millions of stars, more than before or since, or so it seemed. My heart swelled with the knowledge of God and I began to sing at the top of my lungs, my arms thrown wide and tears streaming down my face – How Great Thou Art.Now, I knew absolutely nothing about tongues or anything else. But I knew without being told that God had reached down from heaven and kissed me. Still, without knowing what it was or why, every time I tried to pray over the next two weeks, this strange language would come out, often in song. What the heck? I had no idea. It wasn’t until decades later that I learned what it was.

  7. Thanks for sharing that, Twyla. Religious experience is usually hard to describe to others, but you made me “see” it :-).

  8. Twyla,That was an amazing narrative. One part I really enjoyed was that the group did something actively to help you feel the sense of God. This seems so rare. Now, I’m not sure about their methods, but I love their intention. And then your experience of it! Wow. It is like “God had reached down from heaven and kissed (you).” How wonderful. That you noticed all those stars, and that your heart swelled, this is a lovely description of awakening. Thank you for sharing this, Twyla.

  9. Twyla, I agree completely with Meredith; you gave us a wonderful witness. As Crystal said, honest testimonies are all too rare. I don’t believe anyone could feel less than very positive about your description. And at 14! Now I know who you are, dear friend.

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