...in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.
Again in this Pentecost season we should return to that wonderful account in Acts 2:1-21 to “search the Scriptures” in light of the tremendous challenges and opportunities of our times. Jesus’ teaching should echo in us always to "abide" in the word, for apart from God we can do nothing of lasting impact. The ELCA has a mandate for global impact.
Impact requires power. Pentecost, for us as Christians is the extraordinary coupling of human capacity with divine power. Available, yielded servants of God were filled to overflowing with God’s Holy Spirit power, and the impact resonates even now.
The streets of Jerusalem were filled that day with many who had come to worship more out of habit than desire. Yet they found themselves receiving what they didn't even realize they'd been hungry for; "we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power" and even more amazing, with even more impact, we hear them "in our own languages!"
The Acts account identifies fifteen or more nationalities, languages, cultures and communities present at that dramatic outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God. The impact of the bold declaration of the mighty acts of God created a "common ground" reality among a fantastically diverse people; "in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power."
At the prompting of a friend I've been re-reading some of the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Under the title, "Where Do We Go From Here?" Dr. King lifts up two particular points about power I'm finding helpful as we enter Pentecost 2010.
The ELCA mandate to be a truly multicultural church holds magnificent implications and impact not just for our church but for our church’s witness in the world.
Some twenty years now into the life of our church and this call to be a truly multicultural faith community in the world, we must honestly confess and examine what has proven to hinder our forward progress as well as celebrate what has been achieved.
Living out the mandate to proclaim the gospel in ways that afford the diverse peoples of the world the opportunity to “hear in their own languages” demands of us a faithful use of power. We must fully engage as good stewards the personal and collective resources available to us.
The Multicultural Ministries program unit is your partner in this work of increasing our shared capacity for building with integrity and love a more multicultural church. Visit our Web site to learn more about the resources available through our program unit.
What an impact when we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own languages!
* The quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are taken from Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?(New York: Harper & Row, 1967).