A few years ago, in Newsweek magazine, Garrison Keillor was asked to choose what he considered to be the five most important books. Many readers were probably surprised to find that he ranked the Book of Acts at the top of his list. When describing the Book of Acts, Keillor offered this poetic summary: “The flames lit on their little heads and bravely and dangerously went they onward.”[i]
This Sunday, we proclaim the final and joyful turning point in the mission of God. If you want to quickly tell the story of God’s mission in the world, you can do it in five main chapters: 1) creation; 2) fall; 3) the election of Israel; 4) the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and 5) the new creation. We live in chapter five, when the Spirit of God is bringing about the new creation through this Spirit-filled community called the church. And the story of Pentecost — like any good “introduction” — gives us important clues about what the shape of this new creation will be.