christopher marlin-warfield

radical charity

Acts of Prophecy

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In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

When Peter says these words, he’s quoting the prophet Joel… and he’s trying to give an explanation.

You see, the disciples are all together in one place when a sound like the rush of a violent wind comes from heaven and tongues of fire appear and those tongues rest on the disciples and they begin to speak in other languages.

And the people of Jerusalem gather around, hearing these Galileans speak of God’s power, each in their own language.

And some of the people are amazed. And some of the people think that the disciples are drunk… because, as we all know, when you’re drunk you can speak other languages.

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Absolutely Nothing

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Philip, I have to imagine, has been having a hard time.

A few chapters ago, we were casually introduced to a split in the young Christian community. In those days, when the disciples were growing in number, there were Hebrews and there were Hellenists.

The Hebrews spoke Hebrew or Aramaic and were, probably, less connected to the Greco-Roman culture that dominated their world. But they included, of course, the twelve, the apostles, the big-shots.

The Hellenists spoke Greek and were more connected to that Greco-Roman culture that dominated their world. They were probably a little looked down upon by the Hebrews.

And the Hellenists went to the Hebrews with a complaint: when the food is being distributed each day, our widows are being neglected.

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Open Our Eyes

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In this story, Jesus has already appeared to a couple of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus. He walked with them and he talked with them. He showed them where the prophets had said that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again. He took bread and he blessed it and he broke it and he gave it to them and their eyes were opened and they recognized him and he disappeared.

These disciples start telling the other disciples what happened to them: The Lord has risen and he appeared to us and he took bread an he blessed it and he broke it and he gave it to us and our eyes were opened and we recognized him and he disappeared.

And while they are talking about this, Jesus reappears to all of them, even Thomas, and they are frightened. Which is good because when your friend and teacher is murdered and then appears among you, that is frightening.

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The Way It It. The Way It Should Be.

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I love Palm Sunday.

I know that there are Christmas people and Thanksgiving people and Halloween people and Independence Day people and Easter people and maybe even a few Arbor Day people. There are people who get excited about lights and decorations and costumes and dressing up and food and presents and all of those sorts of things.

I am a Palm Sunday person.

I love Palm Sunday because this is the kind of holiday where, if the powers that be knew what it was about, they wouldn’t let us celebrate it. It’s subversive. It offers a choice between the way things are and the way things could be.

Let me back up.

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What About Everyone?

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God goes out to be alone and to pray. And when his friends come and say, “everyone is searching for you,” God says, ‘let’s go on to the neighboring towns and spread this good thing there; let’s go throughout of all of Galilee and spread this good thing there; let’s go make disciples of all nations and spread this good thing there.’ God is generous.

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