Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Reflections from The Hill – He’s Up To Something – Acts 2.1-11


When you stack the Old Book story from Ezekiel about skin-grafted bones rising from the ground with, say, the talking, fiery, tongues of today’s First Reading, it’s hard not to imagine that they might be some left-over story ideas for The Poltergeist or Waking The Dead, only better.


And, after three years of following The Bloke around the Holy Land and seeing examples of walking on water, multiplication of loaves and fishes, healings, risings from the dead and exorcisms, The Mob were pretty-well tuned up to expect some crazy stuff.


At one level, it must have been fun. So much fun in fact, that if you or I had met one of The Mob in the street, chances is we’d be on the blower quicker than you could say “Mephibosheth” and have them committed.


Or we’d disregard them, which is what has happened mostly.


Truth is, the Big Fella operates at a phenomenal and surrealist level pretty much all time: it’s just that we’ve chosen to disregard most of what He does.


The idea that God is an Englishman, and therefore not prone to excessive behaviour, runs deep.


We now need such a massive shift in our religious expectations and frozen beliefs that we tend to take the easy option and stay bland.


As a result, our church-going becomes a learned behaviour, a patterned response, rather than a joy to behold or an excitement to celebrate.


But rather than bemoan or highlight our way of life (we’re really good at turning the focus onto us), let’s take a gander at what happens when The Big Fella comes to town. Usually there’s a whole lot of shakin’ going on …


There’s shaking the thinking, there’s shaking the beliefs, there’s shaking the hearts and there’s a challenge to the on-lookers and readers to testify to the experience.


When the Big Fella comes to town, he sends the Spirit and amazing things happen: barriers are broken, communities are formed, opposites are reconciled, and unity is established.


When the Big Fella comes to town, diseases are cured, addictions are broken, cities are renewed, races are reconciled, hope is established, people are blessed, and real church happens.

Today the Spirit of God is as present today as He was on the Birthday of the Church (we call it Pentecost). The invitation is to get ready, because He’s up to something. Maybe His presence will look like this in your place:

Discouraged folks cheer up,
Dishonest folks ’fess up,
Sour folks sweeten up,
Closed folk open up,
Gossipers shut up,
Conflicted folks make up,
Sleeping folks wake up,
Lukewarm folk fire up,
Dry bones shake up,
Pew potatoes stand up!
But most of all, Christ the Saviour of all the world is lifted up...
(from  Rick Kirchoff, Germantown Methodist Church, USA):


In that first Pentecost of experiential wonders, what we readers pick up is the total immersion by the Spirit of those who were there.


It’s as if their whole being was penetrated by Him and they are so bathed with His breath that there is no space for anything else.


Like unseen air, the Spirit moves on the ones gathered and his sheer presence and power demonstrates that The Big Fella is serious about what’s happening and he shows it by drawing from each one acclamations of praise, even prophecies.


Is it any wonder that The Bloke warned The Mob (in John 16.12) that what he has to say is actually too much to bear?


The vast size of The Big Fella’s agenda and the myriads of his ways are just too big for us to get our heads around sometimes.

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