So those who welcomed [Peter’s] message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.” Acts 2:41
This past Sunday, we celebrated the birthday of the Church and thus entered the Christian season of Pentecost. That first Pentecost must have been one awesome sight to see! Can you imagine the awe, the fear, the cacophony of voices and languages as a rushing wind filled the hall and tongues of fire appeared over the heads of so many? Yet, God appearing as a flame was far from anything new! But then as Peter began to speak, all those gathered from so many places heard Peter speak in their own language. This Galilean fisherman probably had a twang too difficult for anyone to completely understand, but now he speaks eloquently in numerous languages at once!! How can that be? The miracle had to take place in the ears of the hearers.
Peter merely recalled the story of Jesus who came as God’s plan to provide salvation for all the world. How Jesus gave himself up to die for humanity, was executed, despite his many signs and wonders and miracles. In just three days, God raised Jesus from the dead for the purpose of defeating our last enemy and placing death beneath us. So moved was this crowd that about 3,000 were baptized and became Christians before departing to return to their hometowns and further spread the Gospel message. That’s what God had called Israel to do from the beginning, but Israel had failed.
In a time, when disease and death is at the forefront of our news, we must be about the Father’s business. This disease and death are not only in the third world countries now, they are right here in our own neighborhoods, yet I see many on the news, as well as our community, who just refuse and rebuke the practices the medical experts tell us are necessary to prevent its spread to save our own lives and those of many. If we cannot care enough to try to keep ourselves safe and healthy, how can we care about our neighbors? If we don’t love ourselves, we aren’t going to love our neighbor.
Yet, Jesus instructed us to indeed love ourselves and to love our neighbors just as much as we love ourselves. So then the act of wearing a mask becomes many things. It is not only an act of brotherly love, but also a testimony of that love Jesus taught us. It tells us that God’s love is so vital, that everyone, the world over, must experience it and WE are the ones that must share it. Soon, we hope, we will gather again in our churches and celebrate what God’s love has done for us. We can give our testimonies of hurt and healing. Afterwards, we will deploy again throughout the entire world to baptize as many into the health of salvation and eternal life. Thanks be to God!