Some parts of the Bible are just more important than others. Acts 2 is one of those parts. It so splendidly captures the wild, generative, upending work of the Holy Spirit.
On this day after Pentecost, I am again reminded that the Lord is going to build his church with people who are moved by the Spirit. I offer you my top ten list of what God wants to move us to do, based on Acts 2. Each item is, basically, number one. So I did not try to create an order. I don’t think God orders them either:
Speak up. (They “began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”)
It is kind to be “another voice” at the table. It is OK to be socially “pluralized.” But in our hearts we know we have something to say about Jesus that is not just another “belief.”
Forget being qualified. (“Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?”)
Acting in the name of Jesus does not mean we are smarter than everyone else or that we have a recognizable right to offer what we offer. Coming in the name of Jesus is qualification enough.
Think big. (“Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, our old men will dream dreams.”)
Whatever you think is the boundary that restricts your purpose – it probably doesn’t. Test the limits of your unbelief.
Act on your spiritual urges. (“They were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”)
You have something from the Holy Spirit happening in you right now that is just a valid as whatever happened on the first Pentecost. Move with it. The promise is for you, too.
Tell the truth. (“He warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’”)
Jesus is the truth. No amount of accommodation to the society or “religifying” of the message is going to make it any easier to swallow. Don’t play people.
Create a counterculture. (They “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”)
Let’s not lose track of the old culture, the birth family, the old relationships. But within them, let’s create what is new and be serious about it. We don’t have one foot here and another there; we are a circle in many circles.
Share. (“All the believers were together and had everything in common.”)
It is not about making donations. Sharing is about mutual ownership. Sharing is being a responsible slave managing God’s stuff.
Care for people in need. (“They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”)
This starts in the body of Christ, but if it does not get outside its walls, we’re not expansive enough. Self-giving love is so hard, we probably can’t do it unless we “sell out” in regard to being as rich as we might otherwise be.
Form daily relationships. (“Every day they continued to meet together.”)
There is going to be a contest for the schedule. Again, it is not about making donations of our time, either. There is always a new person to include and a new task to start (in the sense that summer follows spring, and so on) . It takes relating and working together.
Expand the circle. (“The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”)
The church exists for those yet to join. The basic work of the Holy Spirit in the world is redemption of people and restoration of creation. It’s a restart. If there is no expansion, it might be time to work out the rest of the list.