Listen To This Good News
"In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness...now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”
This large crowd has gathered because of the spectacle that has taken place, which is known as Pentecost, if you were here last week, we celebrated Pentecost, it is when the disciples receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and they are suddenly able to talk in all of these languages, so they can communicate the story of God's grace with everyone, and all these people gather together and they start hearing the good news in their native languages...
You see how God through the Holy Spirit is trying to reach them, each of them, trying to speak to them in a way they will understand, but they have these noise cancelling headphones on, they can't hear it, the word cannot be placed in their ear, it just bounces right off and instead of hearing the disciples' teaching about God's power--you know what they hear? Drunk people. That's what they say to each other, they say: oooh these people must be drunk! They try and write off what is happening because it so goes against everything they have ever heard about God--yes, these people must be drunk--because that is the explanation that fits in with what we know.
There is no way of telling people that they are shining like the sun...when they have these noise cancelling headphones on...so Peter stands up in front of the crowd and the first thing he says is enotizomai, he says: take off what is preventing you from hearing and let me put the word of God into your ear.
It is quite practically the first thing we have to do to hear God's word for us, Peter knows this firsthand, he saw Jesus constantly starting his teachings this way, telling people to listen and to hear: in fact the number of times Jesus says to the disciples and the crowds: "Listen!" or "hear!" is quite remarkable...and when Jesus is baptized the voice from heaven says: "This is my beloved son, Listen to him!" Of all the things God could have said or instructed the people to do, God says: listen. God says: take off whatever is preventing you from hearing so my word can be placed in your ear. It starts with listening. Transformation starts with listening.