"Great Catch of Fish," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Acts 2:1-4; Galatians 4:1-7 and/or Galatians 5:16-26 Commentary
by Mary Hinkle Shore
In the Gospel of John, the risen Jesus breathes on the disciples and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (The English words wind, breath, and spirit can all translate pneuma in Greek.)
Where there is breath, there is life, and the breath that enlivens Christ in the resurrection is his gift to those he loves. His risen life becomes their life.
What was in John a gentle exhale, becomes in Acts the rush of a violent wind with tongues as of fire coming to rest on the assembled followers of Jesus. Those who witness to Christ are able to speak in as many languages as needed for everyone present to hear a testimony to Jesus Christ and his resurrection in one’s own language.
When Paul speaks of the coming of the Spirit in Galatians 4, the metaphor is not breath but family. Paul is writing to churches that have apparently come under the influence of those teaching a law-observant Christianity. Their argument goes like this: to be properly Christian, one must become properly Jewish, including for males, the rite of circumcision. The fact that the males in the churches of Galatia were apparently seriously considering this way of being Christian (in a time without modern anesthesia, ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
June 04, 2017
This podcast on Acts 2:1-4; Galatians 4:1-7 and/or Galatians 5:16-26, the Narrative Lectionary readings for June 4, 2017, features Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Matt Skinner. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.