Friday, June 5, Acts 2:14-21

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.  No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:  ‘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.  And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.  The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.  Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Acts 2:14-21

 

Last night the Los Angeles Lakes beat Orlando in the first game of the NBA playoffs.  They still have three more, or five more, games to play to final settle the matter.  Some people have opinions, some even have preferences, but no one will know who ultimately wins until the fourth game is won by one team or the other.

 

Christians believe the game of life is already decided.  It is settled.  It is finished.  Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and his reign is one of peace, love and joy.  Peter knows that as he quotes Joel, “Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

Paul knows that as he writes to the Philippians, “Therefore God also highly exalt him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

 

John knows that as he wrote in the words of Jesus, “When the Son of Man is lifted up he will draw all men to himself.”

 

Peter tells us that everyone gets to play.  Sons and daughters, young men and old men, slaves and free – everyone gets to play.  No one gets cut.  No one spends the game on the bench except those stubborn ones who refuse to play.  The angels line the stands, the church of all times and places cheers us on.

 

The question, for Christians, isn’t “Who is going to win in the end?” but “How do we play in the meantime?”

 

We play with passion and the relentless pursuit of the unveiling of the Kingdom of God, on earth as it is in heaven.  We play fairly and humbly with a conscious regard both of our sinfulness and our God-graced saintliness.  We play always ready to pass the ball of our faith to the next person, constantly striving both to model and to share a lifestyle of faith that brings joy and peace into a dark and broken world.

 

We don’t shoot people we disagree with.  We don’t demonize those who differ.  We transform swords into plowshares and we walk daily with God.

 

At the end of the day, when the game is finally over, we celebrate.  That was Joel’s vision, passed down and through Jesus to us.  Rejoice, come Sunday morning, as you share one more preview, foretaste, of the feast to come.

 

Let us pray:  Give us, gracious Lord, a vision of the end that will fuel the daily lives we lead.  Use us, as signs of your gracious love, that we might bring light into darkness and hope into every corner of the earth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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