Declare God’s wonders (06-06-20)
Bible Readings: Acts 2. 5 - 8, 11b - 12
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? …We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
The Upper Room is where the disciples had hidden after the crucifixion, where they met the risen Jesus, and where they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit, not really knowing what would happen or when. When the Holy Spirit came in wind and fire on the day of Pentecost, the believers began to speak in lots of different languages that they had never learnt. Jerusalem was full of visitors from far and wide, who recognised their own languages and heard testimonies to God’s greatness.
Ten years ago, David and I went on a trip to Israel. Our stay in Jerusalem included a visit to the site of the Upper Room. The room was large and empty apart from the various groups of visitors, and, to be honest, despite the tour-guide’s enthusiastic commentary it made little impact on me. However, at the end of our visit, our group of around eighty people spilled out into a narrow Jerusalem street full of tourists of different nationalities. This immediately captured my imagination and I was transported back into Acts.
The believers had also moved out into these narrow bustling streets, full of the power of the Holy Spirit and ready for anything. And they had so many wonderful stories to tell of what they had seen and heard: captivating preaching, miracles of provision, miracles of healing, and finally the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It got me thinking. What wonders would I declare to the people around me? What were my most recent experiences of the wonders of God?
We have been shut up in our homes for the past ten weeks, and we are all looking forward to the gradual easing of lockdown and more freedom. As we emerge into our local community, what wonders of God will we have to tell? Judging by the church WhatsApp groups, there are plenty of testimonies of answered prayers of healing for those who have had Coronavirus and testimonies of God’s provision through neighbourly care and support. Our church website went live only a few weeks before lockdown, a remarkable ‘coincidence’ and a real God-send! Candles of hope, rainbow pictures in windows and community appreciation for the NHS and key workers all remind us that we have a great God and many wonders to declare.
Gracious God, we thank you for your provision in these difficult times. Fill us with your Spirit, that we may speak boldly of your greatness to those we meet. Amen.