Crossing Boulevard

with Rev. Rachel


Saul must’ve celebrated Shavuot elsewhere, around another table, because that’s just what you did. It was the fiftieth da y after Passover. You made the trip to Jerusalem. You ate. You thanked God for the grain by giving the first of the harvest away.

[Friends, please don’t drink the “ tithing isn’t biblical” Kool-Aid. I’m not saying your first fruits have to land in Boulevard’s plate, but they ought to be returned to the Source. Had people not been practicing what it means to give God what’s best and not what’s left, there would be no Pentecost story. The apostles were celebrating this festival when the Holy Spirit descended on them.]

Back to Saul and to Saul not being present for what happened that hot summer morning: It wouldn’t be long. The Holy Spirit would find him. This respectable scholar, teacher, leader, citizen...would be doing his fair share of talking funny.

You see, when the Spirit shows up (and we’re not shut up tight) there is this other language we acquire. It is the language of our calling. We say things that come to us in our conversations with God (prayer). We speak of the particular thing God is laboring to do through us.

Paul’s sense of his God-given errand was bound to meet criticism. The jeering at this Peter-attended Shavuot (v.13) was modest compared to what Paul would face. People thought Saul-now-Paul should be championing other causes. Why are you worried about the Gentiles? We could be...

Of course, those voices came then, as they do now, from persons out of touch with their own errand. For when you focus attention on God; and out of that relationship sprouts a particular something; you’re relying on God to sprout a something in others so that you can stop trying to run a hundred errands that aren’t yours.

Church, not everyone wants your response to grace in a given season of life. Folk can’t help themselves. They mistake advising for following. But Paul did the thing. By the same Spirit he befriended, follow suit. Strain to see the thing. Name the thing. Be its vessel!

Some souls will see us on our errand and “get it”, just as surely as some “got it” back then. Go ahead with your beloved selves. Talk funny. Walk funny. What the Spirit enables (v.4), God is using for nothing less than the redemption of the world.