Feast of the Forgotten

“In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17)

Greetings, Fighter,

It’s Pentecost Sunday this week – the Feast of the forgotten.

Pentecost is a Jewish feast celebrated fifty days after Passover (‘Pente’ = 50) which means that it happened fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus. Something odd happened on that fiftieth day. We’re still trying to work out exactly what.

According to Acts of the Apostles, the followers of Jesus were all together in Jerusalem on that day when strange things started happening:

  • There was a sound like the rush of a violent wind (Acts 2:2)
  • ‘Tongues, as of fire’, rested on each of the disciples (whatever that means)
  • They each began to speak in other languages! (Acts 2:4)

There were a lot of pilgrims in the city that day, representing multiple different language groups. They all seemed to hear what the disciples were saying in their own language! Some saw this as a miracle while others assumed the disciples drunk. Peter tried to offer an explanation by quoting the prophet, Joel:

“In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17)

Joel was prophesying about the good times everybody was waiting for. Things were going to get better, and the sign that this was about to happen would be a ‘pouring out of God’s Spirit on all flesh’ – a ‘pouring out’ that would begin at the margins.

Old men don’t normally dream dreams in the sense Joel means it here. Yes, we sleep and we snore but we don’t normally come out with the kinds of visions that inspire communities. Those sorts of roles are left to the young and able-bodied. In Joel’s vision though the lead is taken by those whom society has discarded, and it’s not simply those who are too old or too young!

“Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”( Acts 2:18)

The Torah regularly speaks of the Spirit of God coming upon people, but it’s always an individual who has been called to some extraordinary leadership task, and such individuals are almost always adult, able-bodied, males.

  • Joseph was filled with the Spirit, rising to power in Egypt (Genesis 41:38).
  • Joshua was filled with the Spirit, and so succeeded Moses (Numbers 27:18).
  • Samson was filled with the Spirit, leading him to perform acts of strength that would lead to the liberation of his people (Judges 13:2514:614:1915:14).
  • David was filled with the Spirit, allowing him to become king (1 Samuel 16:13).
  • Etc.

According to the prophet, Joel, and to the Apostle, Peter, the Spirit of God was on the move in an entirely new way – beginning at the fringe. That same spirit that took hold of Joseph, Joshua, Samson and David was now at work in young girls and old men. A new form of leadership was emerging, coming from the edges!

I’m not one to take ‘end-times prophesies’ and apply them uncritically to our current situation. Even so, this mirrors my experience at the moment. A movement of the Spirit of God seems to be taking place, and one that has largely by-passed the established institutions of power, including the church. Wisdom and leadership is coming from unexpected places. People whom society had forgotten have become God’s heralds of the new age dawning.

This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:23)

Our Sunday Eucharist

We had yet another wonderful Eucharist last Sunday. Thank you Robert, Karyn and Father Ola for leading the session with me.

The first 15 minutes of the recording from last Sunday focuses on Julian Assange. This won’t surprise anyone, given Karyn’s central role in the Free Assange movement and given that there had been a major rally only the day before. I won’t say more about that now but have included photos from both of the Free Assange rallies that took place over the last week, and you can hear John (Julian’s dad) give his address here. We continue to work and pray for Julian’s swift release.

Further, regarding the recording from last Sunday, I should also mention that there’s a rather special treat at the fifteen-minute mark. I managed to source an Ascension Day hymn for us – “All Glory, Laud and Honour” – sung by a choir of Indian men and women that I thought was spectacular. Watch, enjoy, and sing along. 🙂

As to this Sunday, it turns out that I’m not at Binacrombi. , though I will get back there soon and hope you can join me. I think the weekend to aim for is the long weekend, which is the second weekend in June. Let me know if you can make it. Long weekends are generally pretty busy at Binacrombi. but I’m sure we’ll still be able to squeeze in plenty of breathing, chanting, praying, eating, boxing and celebrating.

Either way, join me this Sunday, along with Doug and Andrew and Father Elias on www.thesundayeucharist.com, or on Facebook , YouTubeTwitter or LinkedIn. We generally go live at around 11.45 am for a bit of a chat before we begin at midday.

Let me work your corner

Thank you once again to all of you who support Fighting Fathers Ministries through your prayers and through monthly financial contributions. If you’re not contributing financially and you can afford to, it would be greatly appreciated if you could go to  Patreon.com. and sign up to either:

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  • All of the above +
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Every dollar helps keep the wheels turning – the websites, the newsletters, the broadcasts, the boxing club and the bush camp. Sign up at  Patreon.com.

What’s On?

I’ve already mentioned above the Free Assange rallies that took place over the last week. It was great to see so many Sydney-siders coming out in support of Julian. Getting to meet Stella Assange was a personal highlight for me. Even so, Julian remains in custody, so we are not yet ready to celebrate. Like the good times spoken of by the prophet, I do believe that freedom for Julian is coming, and quite likely coming at a time when we least expect it. In the meantime we will continue to make noise from the margins – sharing visions and dreaming dreams.

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. in my ongoing efforts to build up www.fightingfathers.com as a community site, I have published a reflection on the Ascension there by our brother, Father Mark, including a rather good pic of Mark with his dog (click here). Please consider contributing your own wisdom to the site. If you can’t work out how to log in and publish something there yourself, forward you work to me and I will publish it.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

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