Sunday, May 20
A Strengthening Faith
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
In the book of Genesis (Gen. 11), God mixes the tongues and scatters a group of people who attempt to build a tower so tall they could make a name for themselves as the people who could reach the heavens. God did not approve of them working together for their own selfish gain, so God put a stop to it.
Here, God does the opposite. God gives everyone gathered for the Pentecost the ability to hear in their own language the word of Christ. While the builders of the tower of Babel wanted to exalt themselves, the words of Christ invite people to empty themselves for the exaltation of others. There’s work to be done in the world, and it can be more effectively accomplished if people work together.
As I consider working with people who are not of a like mind, it occurs to me I have very few friends that are not Christian. It’s not that I’m opposed to having non-Christian friends. I just have never taken the time or effort to find and make friends outside my general sphere of influence. And truth be told, I’m a little afraid to seek friends of differing cultures and religions because I’m so afraid of offending them with my ignorance. It’s a tricky business. My own ignorance keeps me ignorant. If I could muster the courage to ask questions, I might just learn something new. I might just make new friends. I might just be strengthened in my own faith as I learn of the faith lives of others.
Perhaps it’s worth a try.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 2:1-21
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Narrative Lectionary Text: Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.