Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Reversal of Babel: Acts 2 with poem by Charles Wesley, O Thou Who Camest From Above

Daily Readings
Psalm 2, Genesis 2:4-25, Isaiah 2:22-4:1, Acts 2

Daily Text: Acts 2

A Reversal of Babel
On this day of Pentecost the apostles were gathered in one place. The reference seems to be the twelve, cf. 1:26. However, the 120 of 1:15 could conceivably be intended. There is no reference to the upper room in Acts 2, and the most likely place of meeting was the temple. J.G. Davies reckons that the speaking in legitimate languages, understood by the thousands hearing the disciples speaking in ‘tongues,’ was a reversal of Babel, that event when no one understood another (549:64) The sound of the rushing mighty wind might just have been wind. This author recalls a Pentecost liturgy when a wind, so great that the occupants of the building wondered whether it could stand, occurred as this reading from Acts 2 began and subsided with the completion of this one reading! Unfortunately, the other marks of this early Pentecost did not accompany the great wind. But of fear and awe there was aplenty.

Peter’s sermon explaining the significance of this event brought over 3000 of the hearers to their knees in repentance on that marvelous day. The significance of it all was that the power of God was present not only for the filling of the Holy Spirit within the lives of the gathered believers, but it was present also for the conversion of the gathered unbelievers. The question ever since is whether or not this power is present for us today in like fashion. Those of Pentecostal persuasion would say, ‘yes,’ and there is ample historical data to warrant their claims. Like the Mosaic covenant of Deuteronomy 29, this act of God is for those of all time, according to Peter in Acts 2:39. God indeed wills that all miscommunication and disharmony be resolved by and in his presence, and that all sing the praises of the name of God.

O Thou Who Camest From Above
Charles Wesley

O Thou who camest from above
The pure celestial fire to impart,
Kindle a flame of sacred love
On the mean altar of my heart!

There let it for Thy glory burn
With inextinguishable blaze;
And trembling to its source return
In humble prayer and fervent praise.

Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire
To work, and speak, and thk for Thee;
Still let me guard the holy fire,
And still stir up Thy gift in me.

Ready for all Thy perfect will,
My acts of faith and love repeat,
Till death Thy endless mercies seal,
And make the sacrifice complete.
549:55

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