When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4 NIV)
Many think that the Acts of the Apostles is a plain book. Others are so bold as to declare that if we would preach like St. Peter at Pentecost, then nobody would be satisfied and strict examiners would give him the lowest marks possible. Yes, it is true. The Acts of the Apostles are plain. However it is a wonderful and even miraculous simplicity as the Holy Spirit leads the apostles in all truth even before our very ears and eyes. We are truly amazed by this dawning spring of the early Church. The sermons in Acts and especially the one on Pentecost are truly masterpieces of oratory and even the rhetoric of the persuasive church father St. Augustine or the mighty sermons of Dr. Luther don’t come close. The preachers in Acts stand as if on mountains from which they look forward into one testament and back into another and above is the open heaven. Nobody lived in a time like them before and none did afterwards either. Who was privileged to see, hear and speak such surprising, convincing and overwhelming truths like them ever before? It is the Spirit of the Father speaking in and through them. That’s obvious in every verse and paragraph. In this book its always Pentecost.
It is quite understandable that these spiritual sermons brought about wonder, amazement, bewilderment, surprise, but also ridicule and derision among those who first heard them. Yet who can understand that there are even Christians, who are left cold and unmoved by this Pentecostal account and these acts of the apostles, God’s miracles and wonders. Therefore let us pray for us and everybody else, who listened to the message of Pentecost today: Lord, open our eyes that we see the miracles of your law. Show us the way of your truth and grace, so that we will walk in them always. Amen.
Enter in and let me feel and taste your power, that power that helps, saves and delivers from sin! Purify my senses that I will serve you gladly and honourably in pure spirit as I owe you. (Paul Gerhard 1607-1676)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the high Christian holiday of Pentecost. It is found on Pg. 208 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.