Devotional Thought

The fusion of two different things can be tricky; it's often a high-risk/high-reward endeavor. For every "chicken and waffles" there's a Pontiac Aztec. Or, for every googly-eyes and macaroni (the fusion album of craft supplies), there's a Tantrum Yoga. The combination of seemingly disparate things can culminate in widely divergent results: it could end up like Steely Dan's beloved rock-jazz fusion or, just as easily, Frankenstein's riot-inducing monster. (There are some mashups which are simply no-brainers. Like, Star Wars and a lighthearted musical about seagulls – the best use of Yoda since you could clothe your baby in him.)

At first glance, the activities of Pentecost in Acts 2 seem like just such a weird combination. We have tongues of fire and the sound of wind mixed with a cacophony of multi-lingual speeches and Jewish prophecy. It's strange enough for people to accuse the first disciples of being drunk at 9:00 in the morning. However, on closer look the fusion of traditions and images given to the early Church at Pentecost speaks to God's enduring creativity and depth of human interaction. For the first century Jews, Pentecost symbolized and celebrated two events: the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai and the festival of the grain harvest – both are telling of God's purpose for the new Church. The giving of the law on Sinai with its thunderous clouds and fire mirrors the images found in Acts 2, except, in Acts, the spectacle isn't relegated to a far-off mountain with which Israel was forbidden from interacting. The fire, the wind, the Spirit of God comes directly to the room in which the early disciples were seated, merging the sanctity of a holy God and His law with the submission of a common people, being transformed into vessels of the new, living, and sanctified law of the Spirit. Jeremiah's words in chapter 31 ring out crystal clear - I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

The implications of the festival of the grain harvest, or feast of weeks, at Pentecost is, additionally, just as relevant. God had asked His people to dedicate the first of their crops, generally seen as the choicest portion, as a gift to Him. The implication was that this first portion was a sign of Israel's confidence in God's faithfulness to provide an abundant harvest. This offering was, in essence, the seed of the abundance to come. We see the exact same image for the early Church. While there may be only a handful of Christ followers in attendance that day, they were the seed of the harvest to come – the beginning of the new age in the promised Kingdom.

We see, then, in this Holy mashup – this Sacred fusion – the mergence of old and new in promised fulfillment of God's faithfulness. And we, as the Church of today are challenged with the same opportunity. We are daily – hourly – minute-by-minute – given the chance to recognize the work God in His continuing desire to accomplish in us His sanctifying work of Spirit regeneration and empowerment. May this be the hallmark of our lives as it was for the early Church. 

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