Life Notes—June 9, 2011
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” Acts 2:1-4
About thirty years ago I was on vacation inFloridawith one of my brothers. It was early on a Saturday evening and I was driving a long stretch of highway. My brother had fallen asleep and I was flipping through radio stations to pass the time. I landed on a station where a man with a deep, rich voice was telling a story about a small town inMinnesota. The winding tale kept returning to a man who frequently got hit in the groin. Whenever that precise hit happened, the man would begin speaking in tongues.
What does that story have to do with Pentecost? Probably nothing, but every time I think about speaking in tongues I am taken back to that Florida highway where I first heard Garrison Keillor give the News From Lake Wobegon. Let’s face it, many of us have little or no experience with speaking in tongues and it seems, well, weird. I was at a gathering once where people spoke in tongues as a regular part of their worship and it was, well, weird—at least to me. Interestingly, it wasn’t enough just to speak in another tongue; an interpretation was also provided so everyone could understand what the Spirit had (apparently) spoken. Although it sounded like gibberish to me, the speaker would faithfully relay, in English, what had just been said.
The above passage in Acts tells about a gathering of many people from many different lands who spoke many different languages. When the Spirit came over them, everyone in the crowd heard what the speakers were saying in the listener’s own native tongue. The significance was they could all understand what was being said, and they were amazed! There seems to be a uniting quality to the Holy Spirit that is expressed in this chapter of Acts through speech. Through the Spirit they were able to overcome language barriers and communicate. Even though the Holy Spirit is the most difficult of the three persons in the Trinity for me to grasp, I recognize it as a uniting force. It unites us with Christ. It unites Christians with each other. It unites heaven and earth. Even if we have not been given the gift of tongues, the Spirit has given us the gift of oneness. And us guys don’t even have to take a painful shot to the—well, you know where…
This Sunday is Pentecost. Tom’s sermon is “A Church on Fire,” based on Acts 2:1-8, 12-21. Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall. Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary. Mitch’s sermon at the west campus is “Head For The Border,” based on Acts 2:1-15. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to church this Sunday. After all, we are one in the Spirit!
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator