In Acts comes Luke’s imaginative way to build upon ancient stories. The tongues of fire are no longer seen from afar on top of God’s mountain. And the multiplicity of languages becomes God’s vehicle for bringing salvation to the entire world.
On a recent work trip, I took a break to see Beautiful, the Carole King musical. I had not realized her songs' impact on me. I sat mesmerized as I heard the story of King's life woven together by songs she had written or co-written. I could sing along with every single song. They were not just the story of her life--I wondered if they had something to do with my own life and its trajectory as well.
The reading from Revelation 22 concludes the book’s resurrection songs: the baptized enjoy the fruits of the tree of life. But the tree is not merely one of the countless archetypal trees that religions and cultures everywhere have imagined.
“No religion” is now the single largest group in England and Wales, according to British Social Attitudes data. Consisting of nearly half of the population, this group is twice the size of those who identify as Anglicans and four times the size of the Catholic population. A similar pattern prevails across Europe. The decline of Catholics in Britain would be more severe were it not for Christian immigrants from Africa and Asia. The data show that the church is poor at making converts and at keeping cradle believers. The Anglican and Catholic churches lose at least ten members for every convert (Guardian, May 27).