Daily Prayer :: Wind

First steps on the journey of faith and community

June 25 — Languages of truth and love

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt from it

Read Acts 2:7-13

And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done! … What can this mean?

More thoughts for meditation

The astonished crowd asks a good question: what does this mean? If the Holy Spirit was about efficiency or simplicity, why wouldn’t God manifest the Holy Spirit through Greek, the lingua franca of the day? Maybe it means that from the very beginning, God wanted to communicate that the Holy Spirit can’t be co-opted by one culture, one way of doing things, one kind of people, etc. Maybe God knew we would be tempted to say, “But this was the original version of the Holy Spirit!”

On Pentecost, there is no upper hand or upper people group, no “one” original, but many.  When it comes to being graced by the Holy Spirit, everyone is on the same level—Medes, Elamites, Galileans, Parthians, introverts, extroverts, seminary students, high school dropouts, single people, veterans, pastors’ kids and orphans—you name it. The Holy Spirit speaks to us in our own language and teaches us a language of truth and many languages of love we never learned.

Suggestion for action

Reflect on how the Holy Spirit has spoken in your own language before. When was a prayer answered, an encouragement spoken, or a gift given that really meant something to you, that surprised you with its poignancy and particularity? Pray to be open to hearing the Holy Spirit speaking directly to you today—affirming who you are and where you’ve come from, and also showing you how to grow.

June 24 — Rest in hope

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt from it

Read Acts 2:22-31

No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope.

More thoughts for meditation

This section is the middle of Peter’s sermon during the feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem. He has a very interested audience because the Holy Spirit has given 120 people the ability to talk about God in languages recognized by the crowd.

This is the same Peter who denied being associated with Jesus about six weeks earlier, while Jesus was being tried. Now, the power of the Holy Spirit shows Peter that what is taking place is actually the fulfillment of a promise spoken by Joel and confirmed by David, and that, in fact, the Old Testament predicts Jesus, that Jesus is the Messiah, that God promised to send the Holy Spirit, and that Jesus will return the way he left. There is hope.

The people in the crowd are cut to the heart, and many feel the same way David felt—that this news makes their hearts glad, that their bodies can rest in hope. That’s because Peter’s overarching story prioritizes hope—it says that God has a purpose, that God’s purpose is becoming reality, and that God’s purpose is good.

Suggestion for action

Before you get into whatever you are going to get into today, try memorizing a line or two (or the whole thing!) from David’s tribute, to enrich your day:

I see that The Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad and my tongue shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.

June 23 — The wonderful stranger

The Resurrection of Lazarus — Henry Ossawa Tanner

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt from it

Read Acts 2:14-21

No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel…

More thoughts for meditation

Pentecost is part of a trilogy of holidays in the New Testament. Advent celebrates the incarnation, when God became human, Easter remembers the resurrection, the history of Jesus dying and rising as Christ, and Pentecost recounts the birth of the church, the inauguration of the Holy Spirit present with humanity in a whole new way.

Although God, Jesus and the Spirit are mysteriously One (Deuteronomy 6:4), they each get special appreciation during these three seasons. And each time, although there are prophesies and signs, the Trinity always arrives on the scene as a divine stranger: the all powerful Creator as a baby, the Savior in the “distressing disguise” of a poor, nonviolent, condemned Jewish carpenter, and now the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire resident in Galileans. “Joel predicted it long ago,” but still the crowd needs Peter to interpret the meaning of this divine stranger in their midst. Pentecost reminds us that God consistently surprises us humans, and that living in the Spirit is about being continually open to God doing something differently or new.

Suggestion for action

It’s a good day to let God out of the box we often have him in. Do you need a fresh start? Do you and your spouse need a new track to talk and walk on? Do you need a new tape in your own head? Do you need a new sense of calling? Tell God about it. This encouragement may help you enter into a time of prayer for renewal:

Live ecstatically.
Move out of that place of death and toward life because I am the God who is living.
Wherever I am, there is life, there is change, there is growth,
there is increase and blossoming, and something new.
I am going to make everything new.
– Christ (as told by Henri Nouwen)

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