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Gathered and Scattered

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And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. - Acts 2:3

Sometimes the word God has for others or for us comes and sits on us. Then, it does its work and we are as amazed as the listeners. We jut don’t know where it came from or how we could be used so mightily – except that God did something spectacular. Often, we don’t know what to say or how to say it. We do not speak the “language” of an acquaintance. We may share a common tongue, but we do not know the language of his or her heart.

Words are like triggers sometimes. Careless, even innocent use of some words can push the play buttons on “old tapes” sending the listener into a rage of defensive posturing. More often, we overuse words and speech patterns. The ears of listeners grow dull to the repetitious sound of our religious platitudes and spiritual utterances. What we say is true, but the truth does not penetrate or take root because it is not heard. So, either a wall of defense is build to keep the gospel out or a wall of apathy. Either way, a fire is needed to burn away the walls.

At Pentecost, all heard the gospel in their own languages. More important, each person heard the word in the language of his or her heart. It penetrated deeply and cut to the quick. It burned away resistance and complacency with the heat of its passion and the clarity of consuming fury.

We need tongues of fire today as well. We need our own souls set on fire by the Holy Spirit who alone can burn through the rubbish of noisy distractions and set the world on fire with the ”buzz” of God’s good news. Do you deeply desire to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ? Give yourself over to God and ask Him, in faith, to speak through you, believing that He will. You will be amazed and people you never expected to pay attention will hear the life-changing message of Jesus.

And Another Meditation on this Verse

The tongue holds a prominent place in scripture – sometimes for the evil it can do and other times as a tremendous force for good. In the New Testament, it is the purveyor of the good news of Jesus Christ. By the foolishness of preaching, the gospel is spread throughout the world regardless of the languages of the people.

Fire burns away dross and every superficial thing that vies for attention and distracts from the message of truth. Fire burns in the hearts of those who are entrusted with God’s message so that the message spreads without hindrance and impacts all who are in its path.

At Pentecost, God placed His message of grace in the hearts and on the tongues of every believer. Consider the each and the every, the individual and the collective in the experience of Pentecost. God calls us each to worship Him and that is very personal, intimate, and individualized. But He also calls us, everyone, to be part of the whole, to be joined as a body in the ensemble of harmonic voices lifted in unified praise in and through the Holy Spirit to the glory of His Name and the proclamation of His Word.

Today, as we come together, we are many and we are one in the celebration of the mystery of the Holy Spirit in the majesty of the Body. We are here at God’s invitation and sent forth with His commission because of Pentecost.

Gathered and Scattered


Come holy spirit sacred dove