Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

June 9, 2019: A Spirit-Powered Faith

From Paul Turley


One of the extraordinary elements of our text this week is the statement that, “the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them (the disciples) speaking in the native language of each.”


Whatever else might be happening in this story, in a world divided by language, these are extraordinary events.


Perhaps no language divide is currently as important as the divide between China and the USA.


Since 2016 when Donald Trump became President of the USA, he has complained bitterly about China’s trading practices. In 2017, the U.S. imposed tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods. In retaliation, the Chinese government did the same, imposing tariffs on billions of dollars of US goods exported to China.


Tariffs imposed on goods coming into a country mean that those goods need to be sold in that country at a higher price to compensate for the tariff being charged. In theory, this means that goods produced by the country imposing the tariffs will be cheaper for domestic consumers. But what it really means is not that domestically produced goods are cheaper but that foreign products are more expensive. And if products are more expensive, demand drops off, then production slows and jobs in those industries are threatened. At the same time, domestic products that rely on imported materials or components that are subject to tariffs become more expensive domestically.


The current round of tariffs, for example, have made Harley Davidson motorcycles more expensive in China and Coca Cola more expensive in the U.S. (thanks to the increase in metal process from China).


This tariff war escalated in 2018, with billions more in tariffs imposed by both sides, with China accusing the U.S. of starting “the largest trade war in economic history.”


At the end of 2018, the two nations agreed to a truce but, in the last few days, the U.S. has raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products from 10% to 25%.


Those who watch world trade and financial markets are worried that this standoff between the world’s big nations will have a major impact on the global economy. At Bank of America, analysts report the trade war has already hurt confidence on Main Street, noting a protracted trade war “could have a meaningful impact on consumer spending.” And Morgan Stanley wrote, “If talks stall, no deal is agreed upon and the U.S. imposes 25% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of imports from China, we see the global economy heading towards recession.”


If we live in disconnected nation states, then our focus is on what is best for our nation. But if, as our Acts text points to, we live as one human community on one fragile earth, then our focus must be on being that one community and doing what is best for all people and the creation of which we are a part.


Explore…Acts 2:1–21

  • What are some practical ways that you and your faith community can experience and demonstrate the truth that God will “pour out my Spirit on all flesh”?
  • Do you know how many languages are spoken in your faith community and your wider community?
  • What ways can your faith community be more aware of those who struggle with English?



God, never before have we had the technology to enable us to communicate across the globe as we can now. We have wonderful opportunities and a grave responsibility to find ways to listen and talk to each other, and to live out the truth that we are one family of creation. Teach us wisdom, humility, patience, forgiveness, and persistence so that we can truly be a planet “filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Amen.


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