Scripture Acts 2:1-4
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
- Emphasis on their being together in the same place (one place)
- “Suddenly” – unexpectedly, disruptively
- “They” – the disciples who were there together in one place
- “All” of them – those who were together were together in this experience
- Not a contrast but then the unity of their situation is distinguished by the variety of human languages they spoke
Togetherness – unity – matters to God. Several days ago I read Psalm 133 that talks about unity and God’s pleasure when the people of God are united. Today in the miracle of Pentecost there is a reminder, too, of being together in one place and as one people. The first part of the story in Acts 1 says “They all joined together constantly in prayer…” (Acts 1:14).
Are the houses where I dwell together? My home? My church? The other institutions to which I belong and in which I spend my time? The answer is “sometimes,” Our culture does not encourage unity. In some ways the things that would seem to make us more united – the Internet, instant news and information sharing, cell phones and text messaging, etc. – actually fragment us more genuinely than ever in human history. We can be with people and filter what we hear and learn and process fairly effectively.
I suspect it was hard to be together for them. Ever spent a long period of time with a group of people? Even the best of relationships are tested by physical togetherness. Yet when God sent the Holy Spirit, they were together in one place – more than just physical togetherness I would argue. Their being together seems to matter in the way Luke tells the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
What blessings of God am I missing by not seeking and working for genuine togetherness? What power is not mine, my family’s, my church’s in the absence of this real unity of heart and life?
Lord, I so often crave to be alone and apart. You have wired me this way and I thank you for it. But your Spirit came upon those who were together – not a shallow togetherness but a real unity, lived and held fast. Show me today how to be together with my family, friends, colleagues, fellow followers of Jesus in the way that will unleash your Spirit and make us more powerful witnesses of Your Son and Spirit. Amen.