Sunday, May 23, 2010

What's Happening Here?

What’s happening here? That may have been the question Jesus’ disciples asked each other when the Holy Spirit descended on/in them. Just imagine what it must have been like. What if the same thing happened here today?

We are all gathering in this room to worship. We’re visiting with each, we’re talking about what went on in the community last night, we’re complaining about the weather, but we’re not ready for what God is about to do. We’re not expecting anything different to happen than what happened last Sunday. We’re not prepared for what’s coming next.

All of a sudden without warning there’s this sound like a tornado approaching but the other signs aren’t showing themselves, no green sky, no trees moving, not even a leaf, but there’s still that sound. You look around at your friends and you notice that something else strange is happening. Something that looks like tongues of fire is settling down above everyone’s heads. What’s happening here? That’s the question going through your mind, maybe. Or you might be just too surprised to even know what to think.

Then it gets quiet and then you think, “What just happened here?” The next thing that happens is even weirder. Everyone begins to talk, but no one is speaking in their own native tongue. They are speaking in the languages of all those who have immigrated to Jerusalem. It’s all very confusing. There’s so much noise. Everyone’s talking at once.

And then it gets quiet again. People are gathering outside and we’re all inside. They’re probably wondering the same thing we are, “What’s happening here?” And we’re not sure either.

There are some who believe we’ve been filled with God’s Spirit but there are others who think we been drinking too much new wine even though it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. And we ask ourselves again, “What just happened here?”

Today we know what happened there. Luke did a pretty good job describing what took place. My question is, since we know what happened there, do we come to worship expecting the same thing to happen? Do we come to worship expecting the Holy Spirit to fill the room and baptize everyone with his power?

Do we expect anything extraordinary to happen in this room when we come to worship, when we come to praise this great God who created everything we see, when we come to thank Him for sending his Son, Jesus, here to teach us and show us what God is like? Do we expect to be surprised by God when we come to worship? Do we come to worship and expect to leave different from what we were when we came inside? Do we want to be changed?

Do you think the disciples had any idea what Jesus meant when he told them God was going to send an Advocate to them after Jesus ascended into heaven? I think the disciples were no different than you and me. I don’t think they fully understood what Jesus meant or what was going to happen. One thing is for certain they trusted him but they didn’t really get it until he left them and the Holy Spirit showed up. Then they got it, the Holy Spirit and understanding.

So they were inside waiting, watching, worrying and the others were outside waiting, watching, and worrying. Kind of like us, we’re inside and others are outside. We’re worrying about numbers and finances and those outside are worrying about food and money.

Then the Advocate came and they were filled with his power. But their problems didn’t go away. Actually it was like they had new problems added on top of the old ones. Now they were compelled by the Spirit to go out and tell the story, to tell their story to the world, God’s Good News for the world.

When they were filled with the Spirit of Jesus they just had to go out and teach, and preach, and listen, and heal, and tell their stories. And it wasn’t easy. It isn’t easy today. But because they were driven by the Spirit because they weren’t scared silly by the wind and the fire and the noise because they felt compelled to tell their stories we are here today.

And sometimes, we say to ourselves, “What’s happening here?” Maybe we don’t ask the question often enough though. When we get up out of the pews do we feel the compulsion to go out and tell our stories? Do we feel driven to share the Good News with the community? Do we even speak their language?

“What’s happening here?” Are we hiding inside like the disciples were waiting, watching, worrying, fretting about what’s going on outside? What do we expect to happen?

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