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Thursday, June 12, 2014


By Nancy Shuman


The painting on this post is extra large.  It breaks across boundaries, crosses neat edges of the sidebar, and in effect has this blog bursting at the seams.

At first, I was going to make the image smaller.  Then I realized:  this is a picture of Pentecost, and a painting bursting through the boundaries may actually have something to show us. 

The Holy Spirit of God burst into our world on Pentecost.  Not with a gentle whisper - not this time.  He came suddenly, with noise like a strong, driving wind. Tongues as of fire appeared and came to rest on each person.  As we are told in Acts 2, all were filled with the Holy Spirit, expressing themselves in foreign tongues and making bold proclamation.  There was so much noise that it drew quite a crowd.  The onlookers were "confused," "amazed," "astonished," "dumbfounded."  Peter, who had once denied Jesus out of fear, stood up and proclaimed boldly what the Spirit was doing.

The events of that day certainly did not fit into neat, tidy categories.  Suddenly, the world the apostles had known was bursting at the seams. 

The shaken onlookers had never seen anything like this.  "What are we to do?" they asked.  Peter, now emboldened, had an answer.  "You must reform and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, that your sins may be forgiven; then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  It was to you and your children that the promise was made, and to all those still far off whom the Lord our God calls."  (Acts 2:37-39) 

Continue reading at Nancy's blog The Cloistered Heart.

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