Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Acts 2:1-21

1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes 11Cretans and Arabs — in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 ‘In the last days it will be,God declares,
   that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
     and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
   and your young men shall see visions,
     and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
     in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
        and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
     and signs on the earth below,
        blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
     and the moon to blood,
        before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”
I recently learned about The Future Library Project, based in Norway. The project began in 2014 and seeks to gather stories from famous, influential authors each year for 100 years when the stories will be published in 2114. As part of the project, trees have been planted, which can be harvested for the paper to print the stories. In an attempt to attend to all the details, instructions on how to make paper and how to print on paper are included for the future humans who receive this literary time capsule.

Margaret Atwood was interviewed about her participation in the project. I found her thoughtfulness about writing for a future audience to be disarming. I had expected Margaret Atwood, known for her dystopian novels, to have a dismal picture of her future readers, but in fact she was rather optimistic about the future. We’ve had nuclear bombs for a long time and have not yet blown up the planet, she observed. She pointed to human commitment to rebounding monarch butterfly populations and the cod fishery has rebounded. There are hopeful glimmers.

The tongues of fire don’t do much for me at Pentecost. I’m so afraid of fire that it’s a minor miracle that I can cook on my own gas stove. But I do love language. I love learning languages and I have always been fascinated by the Pentecost people being able to speak and understand languages other than their own. This Pentecost Sunday I spent a good amount of time wondering what our world would be like if we understood each other. Not just languages, but ideas and passions and anxieties.
Exploring The Future Library project forced me out of the banal binaries of daily life (wear a mask or not? Speak up or be quiet?). It forced me to consider what a future version of humanity would consider important. In her interview, Atwood acknowledged that it is possible that humans will not understand her language in 100 years, or may not be able to read (or be interested in reading), so it is possible that her story will be completely irrelevant. Even so, time moves in only one direction and the choices we make today will influence the people we are tomorrow. What choice would I have to make today to make someone 100 years from now proud of their ancestor? 

Sometimes I just don’t understand what drives some people. I don’t understand why they think the way they do or behave the way they do. I don’t understand why they say things they say or why they can’t stop pushing certain agendas. Understanding is sometimes an elusive thing. Maybe it is enough to simply choose not to employ a nuclear option today (literally and figuratively). Maybe it is enough to try to give the butterflies one more tomorrow. Or the cod fish. Maybe understanding is too big of an expectation. Maybe choosing one more tomorrow is enough.

Not everyone understood what was happening that first Pentecost. Peter had to interpret the event before it was chalked up to an alcohol binge. The short version of his interpretation is simply this: We have to push forward for another tomorrow if we are to be the people of Christ. A new day has dawned for the people of God. We have to choose tomorrow, today.
Breathe on us, breath of God. Awaken us to be the future people you have visioned us to be. Help us fan the flame within to warm us, and others, with hope for tomorrow. Amen
Amy Jones
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at:
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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