onsdag 11. mai 2016

It cannot be explained – or can it?

Well - at least Peter made an attempt.

It was hardly a prepared speech. Peter knew that the 120 waited for the Holy Spirit, but he knew nothing about when, how and in what form the Spirit would come. There was no way he could have had any preconception of what was going to happen before it happened.
Nevertheless, Peter was ready.

First, he addresses the allegation that they were under influence of alcohol. He knew his audience: Orthodox Jews. On the Sabbath and other festivals no Jew would drink anything before the third hour (Cl. 09:00). It was fasting from both liquid and food until after the prayer-gathering in the synagogue.
In the speech that follows Peter sets a standard for Christian preaching that is still valid. He relates what happens to the Scriptures:
But here is what was said through the prophet Joel: In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Acts 2:16-17a
This is just a small part of the first of several Bible sections Peter mentions in his sermon. What makes it even more remarkable is that the recorded sermon only is a small part of what
was actually preached, because it ends like this:
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Acts 2:40
From what resources did Peter draw?
  1. He was raised in a tradition where religious texts had to be memorized.
  2. He had walked with Jesus, but even though he had only grasped a small fraction, he probably also remembered what he had not understood.
  3. When the Holy Spirit came, Peter experienced the fulfillment of what Jesus had prophesied:
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything I have said to you
John 14:26
Peter thus had a lot “on stock”, but it was the Holy Spirit who was the director and reminded him of what he had learned. It was as though the pieces of a spiritual jig-saw-puzzle fell into place.

This reflection should not be interpreted as a statement against sermon-preparation, but I think this is part of the first portion of The Holy Spirit’s guidance in my own life. It must have been about 16 and encountered with challenging questions, I was reminded about something I had learned. All of sudden the missing pieces in the picture fell into place. It was almost like a small miracle. I understood how important it was to be generally well prepared, further that knowledge is an easy
burden to carry and that I could trust The Holy Spirit.

‘Manna’ for today:
The Holy Spirit makes the pieces in the jigsaw puzzle of faith fall into place.
This reflection is part of 'Who acts throug Acts?'

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