Breaking Barriers

The difference between the words “irrupt” and “erupt” are subtle in sound and definition. The former is a breaking in–suddenly, even violently at times. The latter is to break out–to burst forth like the ash, soot, and rock of a volcanic explosion.

When I think about the Spirit’s activity at Pentecost (Acts 2), I think of an irruption as opposed to an eruption. A breaking in, with a suddenness and force that stopped onlookers in their tracks. A violent wind sucked in by those unsuspecting pilgrims on their way to festivities only to find that their language barriers had broken wide open so they could finally understand the truths they’d traveled to celebrate.

The Gospel breaks down all kinds of barriers, and that’s kind of the point of the book of Acts. It bursts into our lives; it meets us wherever we are–no matter our backgrounds or status or ethnicity or gender or politics or whatever bricks we or others laid to create them in the first place.

And once the Spirit irrupts into our stories, we get to bring the breath of life to others; we get to become a counterculture bringing peace and reconciliation. All of the sudden we find ourselves singing a new song.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,4 but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

-Ephesians 2:14-22 (ESV)

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