Genesis 11 – the flood has shrunk back to the depths of the earth, Noah and his family have received promises from god, and humanity again is thriving.
The people of earth are growing in number and strength daily, developing as a group, as a community, motivated by ambition of self, claiming that now we can do all things, we are self-sustainable, we are ready to rise to the heavens like god himself.
Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth.
Babel – the place of selfish ambition, of pride, of sustainability and of idolatry. From this place, god scatters the people of the earth, bringing confusion to their language. And thus the earth is populated as far as the four corners.
fast forward several periods of time, multiple king(dom)s later, throw in a few invasions and exiles and all the other events that seem to have made up Israel’s day to day life throughout the Hebrew Bible, skim through the invasion of Greece and the statues of Zeus that were erected in the temple and we find ourselves staring at a crucified Christ. We find ourselves in the very place that destinies of such magnitude have always been decided; in a field. On the outskirts of a city.
‘Good’ Friday as it has come to be known was not a good Friday at all back in the day.
The disciples hopes and dreams have turned to fears and failure. The band has packed up and people are going home. Those who hoped for messianic conquest, for the inauguration of god’s physical kingdom, a reclaiming of the lands promised to Abram, their hopes have been crucified and left for dead. Hanging in a field.
50 days later, any selfish ambition of ‘Lord, when you come in your power, chose me to sit on your right and my brother on your left..’ is surely now left by the wayside as blind panic, grief, and utter confusion has set in. Pride is all but gone. And the people have gathered to pray and to follow the last instruction the Christ left his followers before his ascension.
It is at this moment of abandonment of self that the spirit of god falls on the room and the disciples are filled with power, they are conformed to the spirit of Christ.
With the sacrifice of personal ambition coupled with the presence of the spirit comes the gift of a tongue, of a language, so that each of the scattered of humanity in Jerusalem hears the good news in their own tongue.
Discord and disunity are replaced, are transplanted, with unity, with all believers being of one accord and yet pregnant and alive with diversity. One astute bystander asks;
What does this mean?
It means that the scattered of Babel, the wanderers and nomads of the earth, the disillusioned, downtrodden, and the destitute have all now, by the power of gods spirit, become the gathered of god. And many will be added to their number. Daily.