Here's this week's "Opening the Bible" blog entry for i.ucc. Pentecost is this Sunday!
This week’s blog entry is designed to provoke. It's intention is to make the reader uncomfortable. It desires to make it impossible for you to ignore it.
Here's a gross-out beginning:
In Ezekiel 37:1-14, God showed Ezekiel something incredible:"I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin.
"Eeeew!" (or “Cool!” depending on your taste.)
But then the spirit -- the wind, the breath of God *(all the same thing here) went to work. The bones --that were once dry, then covered with ligaments and muscles and skin -- came to life. There was a huge army of them.
The Ezekiel passage about the dry bones coming to life is explained as a prophecy about the rebirth of Israel -- a nation that was then in exile. The scene is weird and vivid. It’s also dreamlike.
This week’s Pentecost reading from Acts 2:1-21 is another Bible passage featuring the spirit. This time, however, the wind -- the breath of God -- isn't so "dreamy."
The believers were all gathered in a house -- and all of a sudden there was a violent and rushing wind that filled the place where they were. It was intense -- thrilling -- moving -- troubling . . . Just when some were getting comfortable with the way things were, everything changed. People talked differently. Strange things seemed to be flying all over the room. It was unsettling! And after the wind came, things would never be the same. Some were excited by the change. Others were angered and just wanted things to get back to normal.
But it didn't.
I hope that i.ucc (and this blog) is part of the uneasy, thrilling, moving, troubling wind of the Holy Spirit showing up and moving us to new places. I hope it is part of the Holy Spirit moving us to previously unheard of ideas and hard questions. I hope that it is part of the Holy Spirit moving us through major skepticism and toward life to the fullest.
May God reach us in the places we keep hidden. May God reach us where we are fearful. May God reach us where we are uncomfortable. Let the wind blow!