An Inspiration: Pentecost

Where did Pentecost go? - The Catholic Miscellany

It’s now May, the days are getting warmer, and I want to start writing the next Bell Mountain book.

So I’m sitting outside, re-reading Behold! to jog my memory and waiting for an inspiration. And as I was doing that today, Pentacost came to mind.

Suddenly I saw it in a new light. At the tower of Babel, God confused humanity’s language so that they couldn’t understand each other: suddenly there were a hundred different languages, mutually unintelligible. That was the end of that project; the tower couldn’t be finished.

But what did He do on the day of Pentacost, centuries later?

He did the reverse of what He did at Babel.

Suddenly all these people, in all their different languages, could understand what Christ’s disciples said. It’s important to bear in mind that all those languages which the disciples seemed to be speaking were real languages. Each person there thought he was hearing his own native language spoken.

“Now… the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongues, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia… we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?” (Acts 2: 6-12)

The exact opposite of what God had done at Babel.

We can see this miracle as a down payment, as it were, on a future in which God will restore, through the Holy Spirit, the unity of the human race. Not by government programs, not by “education,” not by coercion and force, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. By God Himself.

It’s this unity that we look forward to, and not any of the counterfeits proposed by the world government crowd. The unity that can only be found in Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Lord.

A Window into Another World

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Charles R. Knight was always one of my favorite artists. He is best known for the paintings he executed for our country’s great museums–paintings that make prehistoric ages come alive.

This is one of his renditions of Uintatherium, a walking fortress that exists no more. Well, naturally I’m going to groove on the prehistoric animals. But lately it’s been another aspect of Knight’s paintings that has captured my imagination.

His backgrounds.

Look closely. Take your time. Ignore the creature and study the landscape. I don’t know about you, but I would just about swear that Knight’s prehistoric landscapes were real places that he’d visited.

I know about that. I dream of places that are only real when I dream them. In fact, that’s how Bell Mountain started.

I know nothing of Charles R. Knight’s religious beliefs. But I believe that if the Holy Spirit wants to use you, He will, regardless of what you believe. If we approach Knight’s possibly real, possibly imaginary places in the right frame of mind, the Spirit might touch us, too.

God created the world and all living things, and pronounced them good. If He has Uintatherium safely tucked away in some unguessed-at corner of His universe, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were in a place just like the one Knight painted.

And who would be more surprised to discover that than Charles Knight himself?

Singing with Broken Lungs

This is Mary Frey, a lovely young woman living with cystic fibrosis, a disease that can be described as “broken lungs.” She and her husband, Peter, have a video blog called “The Frey Life.”

Anyway, she has this affliction, it’s a challenge to her just to stay alive from day to day–and she sings Another Hallelujah. Now that’s “Sing louder”! That’s giving glory to God.

Several things have brought me close to tears today. This finished the job. But I am not ashamed to pay such tribute to the Holy Spirit… Who surely keeps this young lady going.

‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives’

From Job 19:25, I Know That My Redeemer Lives. Eighteenth-century music and lyrics, beautifully sung by Maddy Prior. Message of comfort and hope from the Holy Spirit.

‘The Shack’: F-

Image result for images of the shack by william young

So here’s another movie that I do not plan to see, based on a best-selling book that I would, at all costs, avoid reading: The Shack, by William Young.

Steve Brown, of Key Life Ministries, to whom I listened on the radio for some years, was wild about the book when it came out. I never understood that–and neither, he admitted, did most of the other people in his audience. Steve is a rather conservative guy. I interviewed him once; and when someone picked up the phone and said “Key Life Ministries,” I asked the stupidest question I ever asked in my life: “Hello, could I speak to Steve Brown, please?” Steve has a deep, deep, sonorous, down-home voice, impossible to mistake for anyone else’s: impossible, but I did it anyway. As if there could be two voices like that! My only defense is that I never expected the president of the ministry to answer the phone. But I digress.

The Shack preaches universalism: the doctrine that anybody and everybody goes to heaven no matter what they believe. Why, then, be a Christian, if worshiping a ham sandwich will get you there just as well?

So… the protagonist has had some serious agony in his life, and he needs answers. He wanders around until he finds this shack; and in the shack, just hanging out, he finds what Mr. Young is pleased to tell us is the Holy Trinity.

God the Father, Yahweh, the Great I AM–well, that’s a black woman. This has to be liberal para-Christianity’s oldest cliche. I’ll bet there were cave men who were bored to death by it. So give Mr. Young an F- for originality. The Holy Spirit is a prattling Asian woman, and God the Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, the King of Kings–well, he’s just this laid-back, chilled-out, loosey-goosey Middle Eastern Guy. And the message is, Everybody gets saved.

What Bible did Mr. Young get that out of?

For whatever my opinion may be worth, this seems like a very serious sin: trying to use God to bear false witness against His own enscriptured Word. The Shack can’t be right unless the Bible is wrong about virtually everything. And that, in a nutshell, is what liberal para-Christianity is all about. You can’t believe the message of The Shack unless you disbelieve the Bible.

Give The Shack another F- for theology.

If you have to choose between seeing this movie and watching the grass grow, go for the grass.

Encore! ‘O Worship the King’

Pardon me for repeating myself. This is one of my  very favorite hymns, it’s been in my head for two days, and I tried to sing it to myself yesterday, on my way to the nursing home to see Aunt Joan, but I couldn’t–it filled my heart and choked my words.

I have no idea who performs this beautiful rendition, and I love the video: and I can’t help it, I hear the Holy Spirit in this hymn and it makes me want to cry for joy–because the Lord is with me.

Good Night: ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’

Let’s share this at the end of the day–one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written, surely by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. If this doesn’t stir your soul, then maybe you don’t have one.

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, by Johann Sebastian Bach: Leopold Stokowski conducting.

Our Lord, our Shepherd, is worthy of our love and reverence.