It started in a house.
That’s what I keep telling myself.
I’m shocked and surprised. When Jesus said he would send the Holy Spirit, we shouldn’t have been surprised about where and when.
We had gathered in a house to worship with one another. We weren’t in a temple or a synagogue. We weren’t in some dedicated or special place of worship. For the longest time in our lives, worship happened in a temple but we had been driven out and were now worshipping in homes across the city.
I’m sorry for repeating myself, but we were IN a HOUSE when the Holy Spirit came to us, not the temple. It was the last place we would ever expect to see God start this movement that’s now changing the world around us.
Out of nowhere, the type of wind that would frighten us while were out on a fishing boat in the sea, it overcame us inside the house! Something that looked like fire descended on us and all of a sudden we found ourselves proclaiming the Good News to others out in the streets.
Now here is the unbelievable part of it all.
We weren’t speaking in our own language. We found ourselves proclaiming the good news in foreign languages and others were understanding it. The Holy Spirit entered us and was there to stay.
3,000 people decided to follow Jesus that day and it all started from within a house. God works in mysterious ways.
A retelling based on Acts 2
Every story can be broken down into a few parts. The setting, where the story takes place and why it might be important. The characters and their emotions and thoughts invested in the story. A tension that needs resolved. A resolution that brings us through the tension, and a through line (aka main idea) that carries the story through from beginning to end.
It’s the last week of the Narrative Lectionary, and we’re ending with Pentecost & the Fruit of the Spirit. It’s one of the few times we pick up in one part of scripture only to end up in another part but that should cause us to remember this truth: The story we share every week isn’t an isolated story. Every story we share is a part of God’s story and those stories that make up God’s story take us from beginnings in Genesis to new beginnings in Revelation.
The overarching story of the Holy Spirit is beginning to end too. From hovering over the surface of the waters during creation, to the many encounters between the Holy Spirit and people in the Hebrew Scriptures, and now for this week: Focusing on the Holy Spirit arriving at Pentecost, entering the believers, and allowing us to see the Fruit of the Spirit (a new and better way of life) in our lives.
Who are the characters in our story this week? Simply, God and people. More broadly the Holy Spirit and people who need life breathed into them.
The setting? A house in Jerusalem, where the believers had gathered to worship together (Acts 2:1-2). More on that in the next blog post.
What’s the tension (conflict) in this story? The tension is about to be huge. God is making his home our bodies. He’s moving from a temple built of stone to temples built with flesh and blood and bone. That changes things. The Holy Spirit has entered the believers and has caused them to start speaking about God in languages not their own (Acts 2:3-4). Others begin hearing these believers speak about God in their own native language. It was becoming clear that God was up to something, but there were still those who accused these believers of being drunk.
The Resolution. God is entering the world in a new way. A way that can bring life to people in ways that weren’t possible before. When we say yes to Jesus and the Holy Spirit enters our lives, we have access to a completely new way of living that expresses itself as the Fruit of the Spirit. We get to trade temporary ways of feeling alive (Galatians 5:19-21) for forever ways of feeling alive (Galatians 5:22-23), ways of feeling even more alive, even here, even now.
Reading from Acts 2:1-4, Galatians 5:16-26