A God of Surprises

May 13, 2018

by Eric Sponheim, former board member

The beloved song Borning Cry speaks of God being ready at the end of the story with “just one more surprise.” It’s a beautiful line because our God, though always faithful, truly is a God of surprises.

Consider the story for Ascension Day in the first chapter of Acts. The apostles are awaiting the promised coming of the Holy Spirit, after the risen Christ has ascended to the Father. Naturally, they devote themselves to prayer, a discipline Jesus had always modelled so consistently for them.

They also initiate a process of choosing a disciple to replace Judas, who has taken his own life after betraying Jesus. Two candidates are put forward, Joseph Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Lots are cast to make the final section and the lot falls on Matthias.

It seems such a momentous choice. After all, the role is to restore the symbolism of twelve apostles corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel.

 Yet there is a surprise coming. It won’t be long before another new apostle, Saul-turned-Paul, will lead a movement that brings Jesus’s message of love, forgiveness and salvation out into the wider, Gentile world.

With the power of the Spirit, Christianity will become a movement that, as Acts 17:6 records, begins turning the world upside down. A member of the Women at the Well congregation at the prison in Mitchellville, Iowa, quite aptly calls this nothing less than a ReLOVolution.

Each of us has a part to play in making this ReLOVution happen. But we cannot fully know what the Spirit is ultimately up to. All we can do is try to catch the winds of that Spirit and be prepared to be surprised.



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Category: Spirit

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