I was on my way to meet an old friend in a new place, and I was lost. There was no cell phone coverage. My GPS kept telling me to make a U-Turn, and proceed to the first available road. I was on the only available road.
I decided to stop and ask for directions.
“Yep,” I was told, “you can get there from here. Drive past the crossroads where the old oak tree used to stand, take the second left, turn towards the old saw mill, and look for the name on the mailbox. You can’t miss it.”
Lost as ever, I drove on, pulled into a small store, and asked about the crossroads where the old oak tree used to stand.
“You found it,” said the clerk. “A storm took it down, so we hauled it out, and put in parking lot. Why are you asking?”
“Because I need to find the old saw mill,” I said.
“That’s long gone,” said the clerk. “The township put a fire station there. Just turn right as you leave the store, then turn left onto Mill Hollow Road, and turn onto Fire House Lane. You can’t miss it.” And, I didn’t.
On Pentecost, Jerusalem was filled with new people trying to find their way in a new place. Then, there was a gust of wind, and before long people began hearing the familiar sounds of home. None of them, Luke says, could believe their ears: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?” they asked. “How is it that each of us hears them in our native language? What does this mean?” (Acts 2:5-12)
Peter told them: “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.’” On Pentecost, familiar words had carried them into a new place to be made God’s new people. (Acts 2:17)
Whether your summer in church brings you here, or a vacation takes you to a place you’ve never been to before, I’ve found the Holy Spirit works in our Sunday gathering to make us a new people God sends to offer Christ in new places. Some weeks, a familiar truth has taken on a new meaning. On other weeks, the Holy Spirit has poured God’s love into my thirsty heart. I never know how Christ will work in on Sunday morning; I only know that if we listen, we will hear the familiar sound of the Spirit inviting to become a new person equipped and empowered to offer Christ in a new place.