Talking the Walk, Walking the Talk
Shea: Between last Thursday’s Bible study and Sunday’s Pentecost service, we’re off to a strong start with our tour of Acts.
Tim: The opening pieces are all in place: Jesus’s commandment to be witnesses, the ascension, Pentecost, and the beginning work that builds on these events.
Shea: It happens so quickly! And it’s so thick. Every detail carries very weighty significance. The first readers caught a lot of nuance we can’t access directly from the page. That’s why this study-tour is so helpful. For instance, it really helps to see the importance the writer places on the disciples’ being Galilean Jews.
Tim: In today’s context, they’d belong to the Make Galilee Great Again set. Knowing that enables us to appreciate the extraordinary transformation they undergo. They begin as fearful, suspicious, and even resentful folks. And who wouldn’t be, given what’s happening in their land and what they’ve just gone through? Yet they end up fiery heralds of radical inclusion, embracing many of the people they once viewed as adversaries and sinners.
Shea: Heralds—I like that! It interests me that the same writer who gave us Luke’s Gospel also wrote Acts since both books begin in a comparable way. A divine disruption occurs in a humble setting among humble people and changes everything. An angel announces the coming of Christ, Jesus announces the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Tim: And both narratives come with a lot of speeches to explain what’s behind these events. In Luke, the angel, Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah give speeches. In Acts, Jesus, the two men in white, and Peter do the same thing.
Shea: It’s an ingenious technique. The writer talks the walk before the action starts. Mary explains that the child inside her is part of God’s plan to restore equity. The poor will be exalted while the rich will be brought low. Peter tells mystified onlookers at Pentecost that God is throwing open the doors of grace for everyone, not just a select group of folks claiming divine favor due to ethnic and religious heritage.
Tim: “All” means ALL, y’all!
Shea: Amen and ashé!
Tim: When I talk to folks about Acts—not to suggest I talk about it all the time (although I sort of do)—these early scenes are what they remember most. But things get real interesting after the writer flips the switch from “talking the walk” to “walking the talk.” That’s when the real drama starts!
Shea: And that’s where we are this week. The post-Pentecost big starts define the way things will go and have gone to this day. It’s like dominoes. Everything starts falling into place very quickly. This is going to be exciting.
Tim: Just you wait!
Come be part of our “Disorganized Religion” summer tour as we walk through the Book of Acts step by step. We meet each Thursday night at 7:30p CDT, in the chapel of Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake Street, Oak Park. If you can’t be there in person, you can join us online via FB Live. See you soon!
We need your help!
As we think about the future of Gather, please let us know what gifts you bring and would like to share with the community. There are many roles that have to come together to make Gather happen every week. This includes setup, technical support, worship, managing handouts and information, coordinating drinks, and teardown. We need your help. Please let us know what type of service you’d be interested in!
Watch God Work,
Tim & Shea
As we prepare to become a vibrant worshipping community, we invite you to enjoy a Spotify playlist that captures the kind of worship we hope to embrace. Give it a spin while you’re driving. Make it your workout jam. Add it to your devotional time. Most of all, feel yourself becoming part of a sacred village of believers who love their God and one another!
Check out the Gather Worship Playlist here.