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  • Writer's pictureSteven Marsh

Connecting–Belief and Disbelief: a Reflection on Acts 2:17, 21, an excerpt from Brennan Mannin

The better you know yourself, you will make better choices.[1] There’s a story about choices and it goes like this:

A burglar broke into a house one night. He shined his flashlight around, looking for valuables when a voice in the dark said, “Jesus knows you’re here.” He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze. When he heard nothing more, he shook his head and continued. Just as he pulled the stereo out, so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard “Jesus is watching you.” Startled, he shined his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice. Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot. “Did you say that?” he hissed at the parrot. “Yes”, the parrot confessed, then squawked, “I’m just trying to warn you that he’s watching you.” The burglar relaxed. “Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?” “Moses,” replied the bird. “Moses?” the burglar laughed. “What kind of people would name a bird Moses?” “The kind of people who would name a Rottweiler Jesus.”[2]

Being known by God and knowing God is the key to knowing yourself. And thus, better decision making when presented with a choice.

At the time of our reading from the Acts of the Apostles, a celebration was upon Jerusalem, one which took place every year, fifty days after Passover, the “Feast of Weeks.” The “Feast of Weeks” was the offering of barley sheaf. The people would gather at the temple to thank God for the harvest. During the “Feast of Weeks” the disciples were gathered along with all devout Jews who had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  The Holy Spirit was poured out on all humanity just as Jesus promised. All who were gathered were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. Peter preached the good news. Many began to follow Jesus. The Church began.As Emmanuel Y. Lartey, Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care and Counseling at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, notes, “The community of Christ’s faithful people will be connected to God and one another by the Spirit’s work of guiding, leading, revealing, and reminding…Through the enabling presence of the Spirit, every need for care and support we have in all of life’s difficult and painful circumstances can be met.”[3]

Christians renamed the “Feast of Weeks,” Pentecost. Pentecost occurs fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection. The Church observes Pentecost, because of the miracle of God’s Spirit being poured out upon all humanity. The Spirit leads us into all the truth. The way we know truth is through the miracle of the Spirit called forgiveness. Through the forgiveness we receive from God, in and through Jesus Christ, and others…the forgiveness we give others and ourselves…truth sets us free. Brennan Manning inThe Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus writes,

We cannot possess the mind of Christ until we recognize ourselves as forgiven enemies of God and in like manner extend forgiveness and reconciliation to our own enemies. Jesus Christ crucified is not merely a heroic example to the church; he is the power of God, a living force transforming our lives through his Word: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).[4]

Receive forgiveness. Forgive others.

Choose belief not disbelief. You are known by God and can know God. The Holy Spirit is God living with us.Believe that the Holy Spirit is before you, above you, behind you, beneath you, beside you, and inside you. Call on Jesus and be saved. Believe and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

[1]Idea gleaned from Gregg Braden, The Turning Point (Carlsbad, California: Hay House, Inc., 2014), 15.

[2]Taken from “Timeline Photos”on Facebook, April 27, 2013.

[3]Emmanuel Y. Lartey in David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, editors, Feasting on the Word, Year B, Volume 3 (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009), 24.

[4]Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish:How to Think Like Jesus(New York City, New York: HarperCollins, 2005), 166-167.

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