Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: The Wonder of It All
1. Over this past year, what is one “mighty deed of God” you have witnessed in your own life?
2. What is a mighty deed of God you have witnessed in the life of your church?
3. How does your congregation keep its Pentecost spirit alive?
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. – Acts 2:43 (NRSV)
I wonder how long their wonder lasted. After the first Pentecost, I wonder how long those early Christians could sustain their amazement and awe at God’s mighty deeds. The rush of the wind, the tongues of fire, the ability to understand one another in all different languages. It was a wonder-filled day.
But then the next day came, the next week, the next month … ordinary time filled with ordinary life. As a Buddhist saying goes, “Before enlightenment, the laundry. After enlightenment, the laundry.” For the early Christians, perhaps it was, “Before Pentecost, bake the bread. After Pentecost, bake the bread.” Or “Before Pentecost, the Roman Empire. After Pentecost, the Roman Empire.”
So how long did their wonder last? How long will ours – not only after Pentecost, but also after the end of the pandemic? How long will we thank God for vaccinations? Once our congregations regather in person, how long will we be amazed at the everyday joy of being together?
I can guess some of my own mantras: “Before the pandemic, keep the church going. After the pandemic, keep the church going.” “Before the pandemic, the stewardship campaign. After the pandemic, the stewardship campaign.” Perhaps you have your own.
It’s hard to sustain wonder. The early Christians knew that as well as we do. So after the first Pentecost, they continued to do all the ordinary things we still do as local churches. Break bread, pray, engage the Word, praise God, care for those in need, and figure out how to share their common life.
And their common, ordinary life became the greatest wonder of all. It still is.
Thank you, God, for your great wonder. Amen.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Parts 1 and 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.