Many Gifts

Sabbath Day Thoughts — “Many Gifts” 1 Cor. 12:4-13

“Doesn’t it sound just like angel voices?” Selena shouted above the sound of the praise band. The opening song had been going on for about fifteen minutes when I noticed that the language emerging from the mouths of those who worshipped around me bore little resemblance to the lyrics projected on the screen at the front of the church. I wasn’t sure that “angel voices” would be my first choice to describe what I was hearing. A few minutes later, a woman a couple of rows in front of me slumped to the floor in an ecstasy of joy and was gently carted away by the ushers. No one seemed concerned, so I just kept singing. When the music finally faded amid cries of “Thank you, Jesus” and “Alleluia,” I sat down, questioning my choice to worship with my Pentecostal friend.

I don’t remember a word of the sermon preached that morning, but I do remember the Prayers of the People. Pastor Mike, who did double duty as preacher and bass player in the worship band, cast an appraising eye over the congregation and asked if anyone needed prayer. I instinctively avoided all eye contact and tried to make myself as small as possible, but a moment later I sensed someone looming over me. “Sister, the Lord wants us to pray for you.” How do you say “no” to that? Pastor Mike and Selena shepherded me to the front of the storefront church where I was quickly surrounded by a bevy of prayer partners who laid their hands on me and began to speak in other languages. My silent prayers began with something like, “Lord, let this be over soon.”

I can’t say how long they prayed for me, but at some point, I began to feel less anxious and maybe even a little happy. In fact, it was as if a little fountain of joy began to bubble inside me, a giddiness that welled up with giggles and perhaps a few tears. With their work done, my prayer partners moved on to their next victim while I hurried back to my folding chair. All that joy should have come with a warning label, “Do not operate heavy machinery while under the influence” because I got hopelessly lost on the way home, driving the streets of the city with a smile on my face and not a care in the world.

Paul’s church in Corinth was experiencing a surge of Pentecostal gifts. The Holy Spirit, first poured out upon the disciples at Pentecost, was at work among the Corinthians. Indeed, behind the words of today’s epistle reading was a dispute about spiritual gifts.  Some worshipers had been exhibiting gifts for ecstatic language and prophetic utterance that they believed entitled them to a special place of privilege in the congregation.  The division over spiritual gifts must have been significant, because Chloe’s people had written Paul a letter about it and sent a delegation to Paul in Ephesus, hoping that he would resolve their dispute and heal their divide. 

Paul responded to the crisis in his Corinthian flock by affirming the work of the Holy Spirit there.  He named the spiritual gifts that he had seen in abundance: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, ecstatic language, and the interpretation of those ecstatic prayers.  Paul acknowledged that the Spirit of Jesus was still at work in the faithful people of Corinth in many gifts, all necessary, all valuable for the health of the church, the body of Christ.

Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit is at work in all people, activating gifts in each of us.  There is no room for hierarchy or privilege in the Spirit’s work. The Greek word for gifts, charismata, is derived from charis, which means grace.  So, spiritual gifts are a way that God’s grace continues to reach out to the world.  God’s grace abounds when faithful people bless their neighbors with their God-given abilities. Paul also wrote that, although our Spiritual gifts are individually given, they are meant to be beneficial to all, to serve the “common good.”  When that happens, a remarkable community is forged.  It’s a place where every manmade divide is overcome.  All those false and artificial dichotomies of male/female, slave/free, Jew/Gentile, rich/poor, Pentecostal/Presbyterian, legal/illegal, black/white are transcended.  I like to think that Paul’s inspired epistle bridged the Corinthian divides and healed the church.

We can affirm that the Spirit is still at work in the church today. In teaching young people about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I have a favorite exercise that I like to share. I give each youth a piece of 8 ½’ x 11” paper and ask them to write their names in the middle.  Next, we place our papers on a couple of long tables, and I parcel out big, bright magic markers.  Then, I invite the kids to write on one another’s papers the spiritual gifts that they notice in one another. At first, we stand around, looking uncomfortable.  But then someone will feel brave enough to record a spiritual gift, like kindness.  Soon someone else follows suit, writing things like great sense of humor or hard working or super smart.  Before we know it, we are rushing around the tables in a beautiful tumble of noticing and naming, eager to share what we see is special and God-given about our friends. Afterwards, as we collect our papers, we read what everyone had to say and we feel affirmed, sensing that God is at work in us in ways that are a blessing to all. 

Jesus continues to send the Spirit to equip us for his purpose.  It might alarm us to imagine the Spirit resting like tongues of fire among us, inspiring us to sing in angel voices, or causing us to swoon in a spiritual ecstasy, or propelling us to the front of the sanctuary for the laying on of hands.  But the whole point of Pentecost is that each of us is uniquely gifted, not for our personal glory but for the common good.  When we embody the gifts of the Spirit, we become Jesus for the world around us and his ministry continues to unfold in ways that bring healing, blessing, and miracles of new life.  It takes all of us, committed to using our gifts to the best of our ability, to truly embody the fullness of Christ for our neighbors.

In his letters to Rome and Ephesus, Paul would expand his catalog of the gifts of the Spirit to include ministry, teaching, preaching, generosity, leadership, compassion, evangelism, pastoring, and training.  For this congregation, we might have to expand Paul’s lists of spiritual gifts further to include some of the special qualities that we have here in abundance, abilities that are a blessing to all like music, helping, service, prayer, gardening, creativity, good cooking, handiness, financial oversight, and warm hospitality.  What are the particular gifts that the Spirit has given to you, gifts that Jesus would have you use to bless your neighbors? Write those on your heart and resolve to go forth and look for ways to share those gifts.

And perhaps this morning we could learn a lesson from our youth.  We could dare to affirm the spiritual gifts of one another.  Take a look at your neighbors in the pews this morning.  What are their gifts?  How have they been a blessing?  Take a moment to notice and to silently name.  I won’t be handing out sheets of paper and bright markers to record those gifts, but later today or this week, let those people know the gifts you perceive.  Perhaps you will visit with them in Coffee Hour, or pick up the phone and give them a call, dash off a text message or send them a note.  Let’s be sure to do that.

At the start of this message, I was last sighted driving the streets of Medford, Oregon with a smile on my face and not a care in the world. My joy hangover faded as the week wore on. The following Saturday evening, when Selena called, eager to take me back to her storefront Pentecostal church, I declined the invitation. I had a fresh understanding of the power and diversity of the Holy Spirit’s work, but I was hopelessly Presbyterian. No amount of angel voices or the laying on of hands could change that. Come Sunday morning, it sure felt good to settle back into my usual pew and to appreciate the prolific, if more subtle, gifts of the Spirit that abounded among my Presbyterian friends and blessed us all. Amen.


Brian Peterson. “Commentary on 1 Cor. 12:3-13” in Preaching This Week, May 31, 2020. Accessed online at

Matt Skinner. “Commentary on 1 Cor. 12:3-13” in Preaching This Week, May 11, 2008. Accessed online at

Mary Hinkle Shore. “Commentary on 1 Cor. 12:3-13” in Preaching This Week, June 4, 2017. Accessed online at

1 Cor. 12:4-13

Now there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of services but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of powerful deeds, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. 12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

The Spirit of Truth

Sabbath Day Thoughts — “The Spirit of Truth” John 14:15-21

Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914 after decades of advocacy and letter writing by West Virginian Anna Jarvis. Anna wanted to honor the unsung love and hard work of mothers everywhere. She was especially inspired by her own mother Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, a lifelong advocate for peace, healthcare, and compassion for vulnerable people.

Ann Maria had eleven children, but only four lived to adulthood. The others died of communicable diseases, like typhoid and scarlet fever, that were prevalent in her Appalachian homeland. In the mid-1850s, Ann Maria organized Mother’s Day Work Clubs to combat the unsanitary living conditions that bred disease. When the Civil War broke out, her community straddled the border of North and South, with local families supporting both the Union and Confederate causes. When solders at a nearby prisoner of war camp began to die from the same diseases that had taken the lives of her children, Jarvis and her volunteers took action. Work parties were organized to address the unsanitary conditions and women were urged to care for all prisoners, regardless of their national sympathies. After the war, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis’s work turned to peacemaking as she organized mothers of former Union and Confederate soldiers to celebrate “Mothers’ Friendship Day” to mollify ongoing Union-Confederate rivalries.

After Ann Maria’s death in 1907, her daughter Anna organized a campaign to establish a national day to honor mothers, like her own.  She urged supporters to wear a white carnation (her mother’s favorite flower), dine with family, take their mothers to church, or write letters to their mothers. Anna launched the first Mother’s Day celebration on May 10, 1908 at the St. Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, WV.  Within a few short years, many churches, towns, and even states had started celebrating Mother’s Day. Six years later, President Wilson signed a proclamation, establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day forever.

When it comes to God, we often refer to God as Father (like Jesus did) and we also refer to Jesus as the Son.  Some people have long argued that the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is feminine.  Indeed, faithful people have been debating the question of the gender of the Holy Spirit for eons.

Our Jewish ancestors in the faith used feminine language for the Spirit. The wind from God that hovered over the waters of chaos in creation—Ruach in Hebrew—is definitely feminine. So is the Spirit of Wisdom—Ruach Khodesh. She is described in Proverbs 3, standing in the marketplace and calling us to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. Likewise, the Shekinah, the glory and presence of God that was seen in the Tabernacle and the Temple, is feminine.

The jury is out on whether Jesus characterized the Spirit as having gender. He sometimes used the male term Parakletos – meaning Advocate or Counselor – to describe the Spirit as he did in today’s scripture reading.  But Jesus more often used the term Pneuma for Spirit, which is gender-neutral.

The earliest churches, the Eastern Orthodox and Syriac, taught that the Spirit is feminine. Early church fathers like Theophilus of Antioch and Irenaeus led that charge. The feminine understanding of the Spirit persists in those branches of Christianity today.

It wasn’t until relatively late, with the emergence of the Roman church, that the Holy Spirit became in their understanding, officially male, perhaps coinciding with the movement to limit the leadership of women as evangelists and pastors. The question seemed settled for the western church until the Reformation when our cousins in the Moravian Brethren, led by Count von Zinzendorf, reasserted the principle that the Spirit was decidedly feminine.

The debate rages on today. That titan of twentieth century biblical studies Jürgen Moltmann argued for the feminine Spirit. Messianic Jews, so well-grounded in the Hebrew scriptures, see the Spirit as their Jewish ancestors did—feminine. Our Presbyterian confessions use plenty of male language for that third person of the Trinity, yet our seminaries are always careful to point out the differing opinions of scripture and tradition.  Even Vatican II couldn’t shift the Catholics away from their masculine understanding of the Spirit.  And if you read William P. Young’s bestseller The Shack, or watched the blockbuster film version of the book, then you would have seen the Holy Spirit portrayed as a semi-transparent Asian woman named Sarayu, a Hindu name meaning refreshing wind. Lord, have mercy. What do you think about the Holy Spirit?

In our reading from John’s gospel, Jesus promised his friends that although he would soon be leaving them, he would send the Holy Spirit to abide with them always. It was the night of the Last Supper. Feet had been washed, the Passover supper dishes had been cleared away, and Judas had departed to betray his friend. Jesus shared a final discourse, speaking important words to help the disciples face the crisis that would soon be upon them. We, who know what it is like to lose a beloved parent or mentor or friend, can imagine the distress and worry that gripped Jesus’ listeners as they imagined a world without him in their midst.

Jesus assured his friends that they would not be orphaned. Another Advocate – the Holy Spirit – would come to lead them in understanding, obedience, and love. The Spirit would be the love and wisdom of Jesus that dwelled with them, helping them to obey his command to love God and one another. I would imagine that Jesus’ words sounded both consoling and puzzling to disciples who still struggled to understand that the Messiah would soon die.

In two weeks on Pentecost Sunday, we’ll gather before worship in the Great Hall to celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit. We’ll wear red and brandish our dry and brittle palms, left over from Palm Sunday. As our Pentecost fire consumes the palms, we’ll imagine the transformation of the disciples.  Then we’ll process with singing into the sanctuary. It’s our Presbyterian nod to the Spirit, well-orchestrated and conducted decently and in order.

As Presbyterians, the Spirit may be our least-appreciated member of the Trinity. One Sunday while I was a seminarian, I was attending a Presbyterian church on the southside of Chicago that was experiencing an outpouring of the Spirit. I was intrigued to see what might transpire in worship until a young woman stood up in the middle of a good sermon and began to prophesy. Her eyes rolled back. She uttered strange words in a harsh voice and spoke in incomprehensible tongues until she fell over in the pew. I wasn’t sure if what I saw was the Spirit or mental illness. It was deeply uncomfortable, eerie, and puzzling. I suspect that the first disciples were equally ill-at-ease with this promise of a mysterious advocate that would come to them and live in them. Perhaps we share some of that discomfort this morning.

Jaime Clark-Soles, a New Testament scholar at the Perkins School of Theology, reminds us that Jesus’s words to his disciples regarding the coming Spirit were intended to be deeply pastoral and consoling—perhaps even a little bit mothering. She points out that Jesus calls the Spirit “another” Advocate.  Implied in this statement is the fact that Jesus is the first Advocate, so filled with love for us that he was willing to suffer death to reconcile us to God.  Because the Spirit is another Advocate, we can trust that the Spirit also comes with the love of Jesus, with gifts of healing and peace, forgiveness and mercy.  Because the Spirit transcends the limits of time and physicality, the Spirit grants us the same advantages that it granted to those first disciples. They were able to live and learn from Jesus first hand. We, by the power of the Holy Spirit, are able to hear and know the will and the way of Christ, here and now.

Perhaps on this Mothers’ Day, some of our Presbyterian discomfort with the Holy Spirit can be bridged if we embrace the feminine. I’m with Jesus; I think God and the Holy Spirit are beyond gender.  But I also think the Holy Spirit is a lot like a good mother.  The disciples probably would have felt a lot less worried about this coming Spirit if their thoughts turned to their own mothers or to other women of their day who were a lot like Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, the inspiration for our first Mother’s Day.

We, too, can feel a little more at home with the Holy Spirit if we remember the love not only of Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis but also of the exceptional mothers that we have known.  They have deeply loved their vulnerable children. They have worked for the health and wholeness of their local communities. They have reached out across social and political divides to simply help and heal and care. They have sought the peace and reconciliation of people alienated and estranged from one another. In the good mothering that we have known from our own mothers, grandmothers, big sisters, and those who have been like mothers to us, there is a taste of the Spirit’s work to bring blessing to our lives. Thank you, Jesus.

Maybe the Holy Spirit isn’t so scary after all. Happy Mother’s Day, my friends, Amen.


Craig R. Koester. “Commentary on John 14:15-21” in Preaching This Week, May 17, 2020. Accessed online at

Samuel Cruz. “Commentary on John 14:15-21” in Preaching This Week, May 21, 2017. Accessed online at

Jaime Clark-Soles. “Commentary on John 14:15-21” in Preaching This Week, May 27, 2008. Accessed online at

Amanda Onion. “Mother’s Day 2023” in History, April 29, 2011. Accessed online at

Heidi Stonehill. “The Forgotten History of Mother’s Day” in The Old Farmer’s Almanac, May 4, 2023. Accessed online at

John 14:15-21

15”If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

18”I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

The inspiration for the first Mother’s Day Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis.

By Unknown author –, Public Domain,


Poem for a Tuesday — “Passage” by Denise Levertov

The spirit that walked upon the face of the waters
walks the meadow of long grass;
green shines to silver where the spirit passes.

Wind from the compass points, sun at meridian,
these are forms the spirit enters,
breath, ruach, light that is witness and by which we witness.

The grasses numberless, bowing and rising, silently
cry hosanna as the spirit
moves them and moves burnishing

over and again upon mountain pastures
a day of spring, a needle’s eye
space and time are passing through like a swathe of silk.

in Oblique Prayers, New Castle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1986, p. 80.

When British-American poet Denise Levertov was five years old, she declared she would be a writer. At the age of 12, she sent some of her poems to T. S. Eliot, who replied with a two-page letter of encouragement. Her father Paul Levertov was a Russian Hasidic Jew who taught at the University of Leipzig. During the First World War, he was held under house arrest as an enemy alien by virtue of his ethnicity. After emigrating to the UK, he converted to Christianity and became an Anglican priest. Denise said, “My father’s Hasidic ancestry, his being steeped in Jewish and Christian scholarship and mysticism, his fervor and eloquence as a preacher, were factors built into my cells.” She was described by the New York Times as, “the most subtly skillful poet of her generation, the most profound, the most modest, the most moving.” She wrote and published twenty-four books of poetry.

Photo by Pok Rie on

On Each of Us

Sabbath Day Thoughts — “On Each of Us” Acts 2:1-13

Anyone who has lived in a foreign country for an extended period of time can affirm how hungry we become for the sound of our own language.  My classmates and I had been living in Switzerland for about three months when culture shock set in. We were exhausted by trying to decipher the nearly incomprehensible accents of Swiss-German.  We were sick of the mockery of Swiss students, who thought we were all cowboys, Madonna, or surfer dudes.  We had had more than our fill of sausages, Smurfs, mopeds, bidets, smelly cheese, and toilets with observation platforms.

Then one day, my friends and I were wandering through a labyrinth of displays at a cultural expo when we heard something that made our hearts beat a little faster: the familiar twang of country music.  With ears tuned to that beacon, we zeroed in on the source: a booth where women were speaking English, not the clipped rhythm of British English, not the thick brogue of the Scots, not the lilt of the Irish, but real American English.  It felt like home: warm, welcoming, and safe.

On that first Pentecost, there were devout Jews living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, from North Africa to Mesopotamia to Rome.  I suspect that those who had been sojourning for a long time were hungry for the sound of their mother tongue.  They were strangers in a strange land, and no one let them forget it.  They were weary of the overweening pride of the priests in the Temple and shocked by the exorbitant price of lodging.  They were missing the tastes of home and thoroughly sick of falafel. 

Then, as they were walking to morning prayer, came the rush of a violent wind, followed by a sound that was music to their ears. For each one heard in his or her own language the story of God’s great deeds of power and the truth of God’s immeasurable love for them, the love revealed in Jesus.  In that foreign city, surrounded by a sea of strange people and foreign languages, each heard the language they most needed to hear.  It must have felt like home: warm, welcoming, and safe.

When we think about Pentecost, we tend to focus on the disciples.  We remember Peter’s powerful proclamation that inspired 3,000 people to make the choice for Jesus. We imagine Philip finding the courage and vision to take the good news and go to the Samaritans and that Ethiopian eunuch.  We consider James, who stayed put in Jerusalem and thanklessly worked, year after year, to teach the Jewish people the gospel of Jesus until his enemies put him to the sword.  When the Spirit came with rushing wind and tongues of flame, it empowered those disciples to do extraordinary, heroic, and miraculous deeds in service to the Kingdom of God.

Yet a closer reading of the Pentecost story reminds us that 120 followers of Jesus were gathered together in that place when that wind from God blew and the flames danced above their heads.  There were twelve disciples.  Another seven men were present who would become the first deacons.  There were the largely unnamed women who provided for Jesus, including Mary Magdalene, Susannah, and Joanna.  There were Jesus’ brothers and mother.  Even if we are generous with the math, that leaves about ninety other people who were there in that Upper Room at Pentecost—ninety people, whom we’ve never heard of, were filled with the Spirit at Pentecost.  We don’t know their stories.

Back at that cultural expo in the Basel, Switzerland of my college days, we discovered that those speakers of our mother tongue were American ex-patriot women.  Their lives had landed them abroad for decades. They taught at the university or were chemists with CIBA-GEIGY.  Their husbands were titans of industry or wizards of global finance.  Some had raised families in that foreign land, children who spoke the strange sounds of Swiss-German with just as much fluency as they did English.  Each week, those women gathered in one another’s homes to drink coffee, speak English, and navigate together the difficulty of being strangers in a strange land.

They could have been our mothers or grandmothers as they turned to us with the listening ears and compassionate care that we all need when we fear that we are alone in the dark, a long way from home. They didn’t have to be so nice, but they were. Each of them, in her own way, was extraordinary in her ordinary kindness.  There were smiles and hugs and cups of coffee.  In days to come, there were bowls of chili and slices of apple pie that tasted just like home.  And in some way when we were with them, we were home, even if it was only for an hour or so at a time in the midst of that sea of indifferent faces and other languages.

I trust that on that first Pentecost the nameless ninety went out into the streets of Jerusalem to be extraordinary in their ordinary ways.  They were kind and welcoming.  They listened and cared.  They were a lot like those American ex-patriot women I met in Basel.  In their willingness to love, they revealed that other love, the Great Love that spins the whirling planets, puffs into our lungs the breath of life, and waits to welcome us at the last.  They showed forth the holy love that walked this world in Jesus.  Filled with the Spirit, the unknown ninety went forth in their quiet, quaint, and ordinary ways to speak other languages that made the world feel like home to people who feared they were alone in the dark.

As we celebrate that first Pentecost and the falling of the Spirit upon all those named and nameless followers of Jesus, may we remember that the Holy Spirit rests upon each of us.  Empowered by the Spirit, some of us may go forth to serve the Kingdom in ways that are truly remarkable and well-worthy of the disciples.  Yet most of us will be like the ninety.  We’ll go forth to speak the languages that others long to hear in a world that feels lonely, unsafe, and far from home.  It may surprise us to learn that we are already fluent in the loving language that Jesus spoke so eloquently, the language that our neighbors long to hear.

We can speak the language of prayer.  We’ll lay a hand on the shoulder of a hurting friend and seek some holy help.  We’ll pray with the headlines, lifting up the victims of school shootings, natural disasters, and the tragedy of war.  We’ll pray for those whom we love, gently naming the worries and fears that plague every family and trusting the Lord to be at work.  We are fluent in prayer.

We can speak the language of caring.  We’ll feed hungry people with monthly food offerings. We’ll share the gospel of fresh, church-grown vegetables.  We’ll testify with toilet paper and paper towels for Grace Pantry. We’ll wrap hurting neighbors in prayer shawls made with love.  We’ll cheer friends with the gift of a prayer bear.  We’ll bless folks through times of crisis with help from the deacons’ fund. We are fluent in care.

We can speak the language of welcome.  We’ll take the time to truly see our vulnerable neighbors, to notice, greet, and listen.  We’ll reach out with concern for those who feel invisible, due to advancing age or growing disability.  We’ll greet and honor children, whose voices are often dismissed.  We’ll embrace diversity as God’s wondrous and stunning plan for humanity.  We’ll welcome students who feel like strangers in a strange land as they contend with sub-zero temperatures, long dark winters, and cafeteria food. We are fluent in the language of welcome.

By the power of the Spirit, each of us can be extraordinary in our ordinary, everyday ways.  Through our prayer, caring, and welcome, this world may even begin to feel like home for those who fear they are alone in the dark.  Let us go forth to speak the languages that others need to hear.  Amen.


Karl Kuhn. “Commentary on Acts 2:1-21” in Preaching This Week, June 5, 2022. Accessed online at

Debra J. Mumford. Amy Oden. “Commentary on Acts 2:1-21” in Preaching This Week, May 31, 2020. Accessed online at

Amy Oden. “Commentary on Acts 2:1-21” in Preaching This Week, June 9, 2019. Accessed online at

Greg Carey. Amy Oden. “Commentary on Acts 2:1-21” in Preaching This Week, May 20, 2018. Accessed online at

Mikeal C. Parsons. “Commentary on Acts 2:1-21” in Preaching This Week, June 8, 2014. Accessed online at

Acts 2:1-13

2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every people under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Photo by Ron Lach on