Yep ... people have used that name when speaking about me. I hope often! Because Pentecost is a day for crazy people called Christians to celebrate. In Acts,Chapter 2, some amazing things happen. It all started in an upper room where disciples (many more than the 12) were waiting for the next step. They might have been saying, "OK, what are we supposed to do now ... just sit here?" God answered this question in a rush of activity!
The Spirit stirred those people in the room. Tongues of fire rested on the heads of the followers. They went down to the street and began to speak in all the native tongues of the people gathered for the festival of Shavuot (the feast of the wheat harvest and [more importantly] the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai). The Jews from every nation and walk of life were assembled to celebrate the giving of the law! But Jesus had made a drastic change in that law. He would speak, saying, "The law says ___ but I say." Jesus both clarified and simplified the law so that Jeremiah's words ("I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people ... and they shall know me from the least of them to the greatest.") could be fulfilled. That is the setting in Acts 2.
Now for the craziness! When Peter and the followers came out into the street people thought they were crazy. "They are drunk on new wine!" the people observed. A southern translation might be what Jed Clampett would have said ... "There's something wrong with those boys!" I have three observations about this great story.
First, the craziness and chaos of the situation would be similar today. If what happened then would happen today, we would say similar things. If we would run out into the streets of New York on New Year's Eve and start preaching in the languages of all the people gathered there, it would be a scene of chaos and we would probably be arrested for being drunk (though I will bet there is a healthy number of drunk people there already). I wonder what would happen if we, as the Church, reenacted this scene?
Second, the accusation of crazy is understandable. In 1 Corinthians 1:21-23 Paul writes "Since
God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through
human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who
believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense." When we preach and believe what the Gospels teach, it is foolishness and crazy to the kingdom of this world. But THAT is what we are called to do.
And now the final point. Have you or we been accused of being crazy for the message of the Gospel? I hear it all the time. "Why do 'they' go to Belize and Costa Rica when there are so many needs here. They are crazy!" "Why do they spend time on those lost causes at CR. They are crazy!" "Why do they assemble backpacks and work at the Thrift Store for kids that are hungry? Their parents should feed them! Those Methodists are crazy!" "Why do they see and do good in a community that seems spiritually dead? They are crazy!" I have heard all of these statements in the last month!
I am sure serving and sweating and working and beating our heads against the wall of American apathy seems crazy. Am I truly crazy to think God can use me to do anything good or to make a dent in what I see as a giant mountain of need? Am I nuts to believe that we live not in a narcissistic, self-absorbed society, incapable of perceiving the kingdom of God, but in a "thin place" where the distance between where we are and God's blessing is so minuscule I can almost see it? Am I guilty of being crazy and believing that God's Spirit can rush out in a moment and touch our hearts so that thousands will claim Jesus as their Savior? Am I crazy to believe that races, motorcycle blessings, testimonies, feeding kids in Belize, home run derbies, Christmas boxes with tracts or any other human endeavor can make a difference in God's kingdom? I hope so! All I ask is this ... will you join in the insanity and foolishness of following a God who would rather die for us than let us perish? Will you let the Holy Spirit bring Pentecost to you? Randy