HOW CAN THIS BE?

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Opening Prayer

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(BCP 227)

TEXT 

Acts 2:1-21 NLT

On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after Jesus’ resurrection, the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them, and it filled the house where they were meeting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

Godly Jews from many nations were living in Jerusalem at that time. When they heard this sound, they came running to see what it was all about, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

They were beside themselves with wonder. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking the languages of the lands where we were born! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya toward Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabians. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other. But others in the crowd were mocking. “They’re drunk, that’s all!” they said.

Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. Some of you are saying these people are drunk. It isn’t true! It’s much too early for that. People don’t get drunk by nine o’clock in the morning. No, what you see this morning was predicted centuries ago by the prophet Joel:

In the last days, God said,
I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.

In those days I will pour out my Spirit
upon all my servants, men and women alike,
and they will prophesy.

And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below—
blood and fire and clouds of smoke.

The sun will be turned into darkness,
and the moon will turn blood-red,
before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.

And anyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved.’

 

READ

Eternal Trinity,
Godhead,
mystery deep as the sea,
you could give me no greater gift
than the gift of yourself.

For you are a fire
ever-burning and never consumed,
which itself consumes all the selfish love
that fills my being.

Yes, you are a fire
that takes away the coldness,
illuminates the mind with its light,
and causes me to know your truth.
And I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself.

The food of angels, you gave yourself to man
in the fire of your love.

—St. Catherine of Siena, 1347-1380

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