My church has very kindly allowed me to practice my storytelling (my “tell”) of this passage after the service Sunday. I need to practice with people, in a big space, because in about a month I’ll be with the whole group of storytellers doing this whole book of Acts. Yikes! I’ve been practicing it when I drive, in the shower, all the time…. sometimes it goes perfectly. Sometimes it doesn’t! I realized about mid-week — perfect or imperfect it is for the glory of God, not the Glory of me. So pray that the Holy Spirit will pour out on me, fill me, mend me, lift me — that I will tell this in such a way to express to a modern audience some echo of the power it had on those when first told. Imagine when the great wind of Pentecost, of the Holy Spirit, has just sweep through the believers and caused the nonbelievers observing them to think they were drunk. Imagine when newly confident and joyous Peter talked to those in the crowd that were Israelites, those who had had a chance to see and hear Jesus in life, to know of his death, to realize that they could have prevented it. Perhaps I can evoke surprise, maybe, fear even as I think the original hearers would have experienced, when Peter brings David into it and shows another side of how great God’s forgiveness is, of how Jesus might connect to the scriptures, to the prophets. Peter’s words “cut them to the heart” (verse 37) — they felt sorrow, perhaps fear, perhaps amazement, and, I think, maybe they felt hope.
We today who believe can perhaps sometimes be asleep and forget the amazing power of His love and His words. And perhaps us modern folks will have a harder time connecting Jesus back to the Hebrew scripture, but it makes it richer and wiser and textured.
The hardest part of this for me is the tension between the human actions — we crucified him — and God’s actions, which was that crucifixion was part of the plan, so that God could lift Jesus up, bring Resurrection joy, pour out the Holy Spirit upon us. We are living in Resurrection joy, not permanently suffering the guilt of crucifixion. We are in Resurrection joy, in the grace of the Holy Spirit, in the tension between “already and not yet”. Already we and the whole suffering of the world is redeemed, transformed, healed, made new because God lifted Him up…. yet not quite yet is everything and everyone lifted of suffering. “Already and not yet”. Let’s look at the broken world and see where we can help the Holy Spirit breath resurrection joy.