… a glimpse of Pentecost

So, was that it then – dream over?

Had God in fact banished the darkness just for a moment, like a match struck briefly – then burning down to the fingers of the disciples and now dropped unceremoniously on the ground? 

Was that it then – dream over?

 Had God in fact just whispered for a moment with the voice of Jesus, and now the world would return to further aeons of divine silence?

 Was that it then – dream over?

 Had God opened the windows of heaven just for a moment, and now they must return to the stultifying stale air of museum-spirituality locked up and preserved for all time?

Maybe they had been foolish to believe all this?  Maybe they had been impatient, and should have hung on for a proper messiah?   Maybe they had been, after all, the fools their families and friends believed them to be?

Shut away, in an upper room – so UNlike the one they had shared with Jesus before, they watched, and prayed, and waited. Shifting, uncomfortable in one another’s enforced company, they watched, and prayed, and waited…and did what humans do. They got organised.It was a little block of normality to staunch the strangeness flowing all about them. With Judas gone Peter, – the foolishly talkative one, stood up, rallied them round, and suggested that they hold an election of sorts. Matthias – returned unopposed.Justus – lost his deposit.

They watched, and prayed, and waited. 

Complete in numbers now, but incomplete in themselves – fearful, battered and anxious. 

Was that it then – dream over? 

When it came – it took them all by surprise. The noise of the Pentecost crowds outside had wound the knot of fear in their stomachs even tighter.And still they were watching, praying, waiting. 

SUDDENLY – the stale, foetid air in their room was stirred up as if God had thrown a window open somewhere.SUDDENLY – the noise of the crowd was drowned out as the walls and lintels shook and thrummed to the buffeting of this mighty wind. SUDDENLY – the light was back, a match struck by an unseen hand and lingering over the head of each. Its light played on each face – flickering and dancing, making them look newly animated even in this gloomy place.

And then, all heaven broke loose

 (Extract from a sermon preached in Teddington Baptist Church, Sunday May 23rd 2010)