Listen again to the first few verses of Acts,
chapter 2, along with what happened next. Only this
time we’ll read from the “Cotton Patch Version,” a
paraphrase rooted in the soil of south Georgia
during the civil rights struggle, instead of in
Palestine 50 days after Jesus rose from the dead. In
this reading, “Pentecost” becomes “Thanksgiving
Day,” Jerusalem becomes Atlanta, and the Galileans
are “Americans.” Allow these creative shifts to open
up your imagination to our God, whose good news is
to be planted in every land. Listen.
Thanksgiving Day arrived, they were all gathered in one place.
Then all of a sudden there came from the sky a rumbling like a
tornado, and it filled the whole house where they were gathered.
And they saw forked flames as from a fire, and it stayed in
contact with each one of them. Everybody was bursting with Holy
Spirit and started talking in whatever different languages the
Now at that time there were a lot of delegates gathered in
Atlanta, religious people from countries all over the world. So
when they heard this great noise, they all came running
together. And then they heard these folks talking to each one of
them in their own native tongue, and were they excited! Amazed
and astounded no end, they said, "Look, aren't all these
speakers Americans? Then how is it that each of us is hearing it
in his own native tongue – French, Spanish, German, Portuguese,
Chinese, Russian, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Burmese, Hebrew,
Swedish, Afrikaans, Hindi – in our own languages we are hearing
them tell of God's mighty doings." Everybody was dumfounded and
puzzled, saying one to another, "What's the meaning of this?"
But others sneered, "They're tanked up on white lightning."
our Tithes and Offerings
According to the apostle Paul, "Joy" is one of the fruit of the
Spirit. Like a nice juicy peach, we might bite into it and taste
the goodness of the Lord. Of course, you know that a peach can
be rather messy to eat. The juice may not be contained in your
mouth. You might have some spill on your shirt. Likewise, God's
fruit in us, the produce of the Holy Spirit growing on this tree
called "the church," can be messy. We heard what happened on
that Pentecost day nearly 2,000 years ago, when things spilled
out of the house where those disciples prayed. What a wonderful
mess it was! If they were wearing any sack-cloth because Jesus
had left them to fend for themselves, those clothes were
certainly stained through and through by "Joy." No amount of
bleach will ever get that spot to disappear. Thank God!
We’ve got this same "joy" deep
within us, brothers and sisters in Christ, the very Pentecostal
promise of God. Don't be ashamed of it. Likewise, don't try to
contain it or wash it out. Instead, share it. Let "joy" spill
out. In fact, let it pour. For God doesn't just dribble
blessings upon us.
By the way, in the middle of that "joy-filled"
Pentecost moment long ago, the apostle Peter stood and answered
the questions of those who wondered what was going on. It was
his very first sermon. In it, he didn't try to clean up the
mess. Instead, he turned to the prophet Joel, who once spoke of
how God would one day pour out his Spirit upon everyone. Of
course, what happened next, as people responded, got even
messier. It wasn't just that they turned to God by the thousands
and were baptized. No, they went on to share everything they had
with one another. Can you believe it?
........Peter stood up with the other
eleven and addressed the crowd as loudly and clearly as he
"Men and women of Jerusalem, locals and
visitors, listen up and I'll let you in on what this is all
about. If you think that these people are drunk, you are wrong.
Think about it - the pubs aren't even open this early in the
morning. No, what is happening here was explained long ago in
the words of the prophet Joel:
is what I will do ................when time
reaches its climax, God declares: ........I will pour out my
Spirit on everyone. ........Your sons and your
daughters ................shall speak
as prophets. ........The young among you
will see visions, ................and the old
will dream dreams. ........I even have men and
women among those ................whose rights
no one cares about, ........and in those days ................I will pour
out my Spirit upon them too; ........................and
they shall proclaim my justice. ........I will perform
miraculous signs in the sky above ................and awesome
wonders on the earth below, ........................blood,
and fire, and clouds of smoke. ........The sun will go black
and the moon blood-red ................before the
the awesome and glorious day of the Lord. ........And everyone who
cries out to the Lord ................shall be
God of abundance, pour out your Spirit on
us once again.
Send us power for the daily
challenges of life.
Send us your presence for every
moment – from birth to death.
Wash us, fill us, and send us on our way in service for you.
by Linda Lefever Alley, spiritual
Bridgewater, VA Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word
(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)
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International Lesson: Adult
from The United Methodist Publishing House
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under both the "Student" and "Teacher" sections in the left hand column)