As we enter Acts 2 and Pentecost Sunday I want us to think about flipping the field. When the disciples wait for the realization of God's promise of the Holy Spirit they look out on a broken society, a broken church and lots of broken people. Add to this the chaos of many people from many nations in Jerusalem for the Pentecost holiday. Then it happened ... the field got flipped.
As I thought about this event, which signifies for many the birth of the Church as we read about in the book of Acts, I can't help but reflect on what this flipping represents.
From the perspective of the Jewish leaders and the 'church' institution, they might have felt that their world was turned upside down. These upstarts actually believed that the Messiah had come and had proclaimed release to the captives, sight to the blind, healing for the sick and light to those living in darkness. But from the standpoint of God and for those who were lost, the field was flipped right side up. In the midst of turmoil and chaos Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, turned everything right.
From the perspective of the Christians, they 'flipped' from waiting to going. These uneducated fishermen, hated tax collectors and ne'er-do-wells barged out of that upper room and began to preach, proclaim and boldly become missionaries in a world where the 'church' said all was just fine. That day the Church began a spread that continues today.
Don't believe these things still happen? At Annual Conference we heard from a Tanzanian missionary who professed that they had started a church 'accidentally.' The began a children's worship in an orphanage and the people from the town were curious and started to come. The people began to ask how to join this group and before a few months had passed 45 people were baptized. No training ... no plan ... no intentionality ... no direction from the institutional church. Just people meeting and telling the Good News of the gospel to children. I believe the Holy Spirit flipped the field.
On June 16th Vacation Bible School will begin. We have lots of good people and even have some plans. But I, for one, feel ill-equipped for this task that hasn't happened at AUMC in many years. But, when I heard this story from Tanzania, I became encouraged. What if God's Holy Spirit came like tongues of fire upon us at VBS? What if the mighty river of God's power rushed out and took our inadequacies, our fears, our brokenness and our failings and infused His power into them? What if God flips the field in Abbeville through the many ways we leave our upper rooms and stop waiting and start going? What if Acts 2 becomes real in our time and in our presence? Come, Holy Spirit, come ... we invite your presence and power! Randy