In some cultures, it is inappropriate to speak the truth openly and in public unless the person speaking is drunk. Somehow, within the context of such cultures, a person is forgiven for speaking so directly when intoxicated. I am not promoting drunkenness for the sake of truth. I am suggesting that the people who thought that the followers of Jesus were drunk may have been saying so because they recognized the truth of what they were hearing. Since they did not really want to hear the truth, they came to the conclusion that Jesus’ followers were drunk.
Acting in ways considered inappropriate could be what is required of us who follow Jesus. We might be called to speak out when it is not our place or time to speak. In the 1960s in the United States, the marchers and sit-in participants who protested and broke unjust laws were told that their behaviors were inappropriate, not the right ways to make change, or even dangerous. Today we recognize similar complaints about the recent movements that amplify the voices of the powerless and oppressed, including the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements. As on Pentecost, God’s Spirit empowers us to act in prophetic ways that may seem inappropriate to others.
I leave you with a verse I wrote to the tune of “Carry It On” by Gil Turner. Like many other songs sung at marches and protests during the Civil Rights Movement, this song lives on through modifications with new verses added to fit new contexts.
In this world, so much is broken
From the sleep we have awoken
To the truth that must be spoken
Carry it on
Breath of God, give us the strength and courage to speak the truth even if others find it inappropriate. Breathe on us, in us, and through us so that we can carry it on. Amen.
Many contemporary Christians wrestle with the theology of the Holy Spirit. Some are perceived as emphasizing the Spirit too much, while others talk about the Spirit only vaguely or even not at all. Both extremes can mislead us. The Spirit is powerful and active, and we understand the role of the Spirit within larger truths about God and God’s activities in the world. God empowers the disciples on Pentecost by the Spirit, and the psalmist emphasizes the role of the Spirit in creation. Paul tells the Corinthians that the Spirit enables us to recognize Jesus as Lord and serve one another. Jesus gives the power of the Spirit to his disciples. May we also seek God’s help in receiving the power of the Spirit to serve and reach those far from God.
Read Acts 2:1-21. What moments from your lifetime might you consider Pentecost moments? How have you seen the Spirit empowering God’s people in these moments or movements?
Read Psalm 104:24-34, 35b. When have you experienced God’s rhythm of withholding and releasing? How can your breath remind you of your place in this rhythm of creation?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13. How does your faith guide you to a tension between sameness and difference that might help you create a diverse unity among your family or faith community?
Read John 20:19-23. How does your relationship with Christ help you break through fear?
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