We hear them declaring the wonders of God
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b]10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Acts 2: 5-12
Today on September 11th, is a difficult day for obvious reasons. We look back as people who either lived during the 2001 attack on our country, or as those after who are learning it as part of their national understanding of our history. I recall the panic, the horror, and the disorientating feeling of such realities playing out live on our televisions.
As a college student, I went to class that today with a sense of paranoia as one person heard that there were hundreds of hijacked planes as well as other stories that spun because of the events that morning. It was the first time in my life where I felt connected to every citizen in our country by a shared moment in time as we all faced life forever altered from that point on.
What I also remember almost as vividly is the response in us as the days after seemed to spur on a new found desire for unity and solidarity. I recall buying a local newspaper so that I could unfold the printed stars and stripes to tape on the window of my truck. It was a real time of coming together and awakening to the responsibility of protecting many freedoms and defending many virtues.
What is more vivid today as a disciple of Christ is not the need for a national aspiration to reclaim such a time, but rather a unity that comes from a force far greater and fulfilling than national pride. This is not to say this is diminished in the last 19 years (if anything it has grown) rather it is placed in its proper order when understanding what form of solidarity and unity is to be about the business of the people of God.
As the Holy Spirit ascended upon the Apostles at Pentecost, a sight that was bewildering and powerful was taking shape. The message of Christ and the salvation of all nations was being ushered for the first time in a manner that brought those who were in hiding from the powers of the world to being out in the forefront of society in a mighty way.
On this day of remembering, may we also not forget that the unity and diversity that was present and at the beginning of the Church is also the same spirit and aim we should have for today. As we each have our experiences, cultures, and gifts, we are called by the Spirit to usher truth, peace, compassion, and a love that reconciles. I encourage us to not overly inflate that we are living in times that has not seen such sights of disparity or tyranny. The landscape of 2020 is our season to live through it and we have the responsibility to call others to make ready the return of the Lord.
I encourage you to consider the type if world we are perpetuating in our lives that have been able to live longer than those who passed away on September 11th, 2001. Recalling some of the messages of those who left voicemails to their loved ones minutes before their own flames extinguished begs the question to ask, "Are we meeting the opportunity to live out what they couldn't learning to declare the wonders of God in the lives we have been gifted to complete each day?" This is our time to be bold, consistent, and above all seek unity of the Gospel so that whomever we encounter can be drawn in by the wonders, the power, and the grace of God.
Keep Looking Up!