“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 NRSV
On Pentecost Sunday, as I listened to this passage from Acts 2 being read in five different languages from four different continents, I think I finally heard it as gospel and not law.
What did God do? What is the good news of God’s salvation in this text? At Pentecost, God empowered his church to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world, to people of every tribe and language and people and nation. I can sit beside my brothers and sisters in Christ and listen to this text in my own native tongue only because that is what God did, and what God continues to do. I am the beneficiary of the marvelous work of God that became manifest on Pentecost.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good, and his love endures forever. His faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100 (NIV)
After the twenty-third Psalm, the hundredth Psalm is probably the best known. It’s one of the first Psalms I memorized as a child in Sunday School. In the daily office, it is the Jubilate. And while the Psalm speaks beautifully to individuals, it’s vision is more corporate than personal.
On December 30-31, 1940, an emergency committee appointed by the Methodist Council of Bishop met in Chicago to address several urgent requests related to the war in Europe. People in Britain and elsewhere were suffering. In England, Methodist leaders estimated that 500 church buildings, chapels, and parsonages had been destroyed or damaged by Nazi bombing. In the United States, Methodist churches near the dozens of newly constructed military bases needed help ministering to the tens of thousands service members who were quickly filling the camps. And as the largest Protestant denomination in the country, Methodists were being asked to supply nearly 400 chaplains for a rapidly growing Army. That quota would grow to nearly one thousand before the end of the war.
“On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’”” (John 7:37–38)