Sunday, May 15, 2005

A Lawyer's View of Pentecost


The filigree flame of fire fell on the fellowship
Pursuant to the prayer and praise and paeans of the plaintiffs
Such that there was no room in the upper room,
And they fled like men fleeing a burning building.
But even the Temple courts could not contain the ebullience and effervescence
And so they were deemed drunk, tipplers before their time.
Yet all that they had imbibed was Spirit,
Which was so like fire in their bones that their wayward words
Leaked out in languages unknown to the speakers,
As if the babble of Babel had been set in reverse,
To unite a divided Empire that pretended Pax Romana.

Who knew the cost of Pentecost then or there,
Or the momentousness of the movement set in motion?
Who could have guessed the Guest who had inhabited them that day?
If possession is nine tenths of the law, then this magnificent possession
Became a magnificent obsession to lay down the Law and take up the Gospel,
And so tip the world upside down such that peace came from grace and truth,
Not law and order,
And testimony was borne not to a crime but to a crisis
Not to progress but to rescue,
Not to an Emperor, but to a Savior,
Not merely to the end of the old age,
But to the dawn of the new one.

As for me it appeared that at Golgotha,
Court was adjourned once and for all,
For the sentence had been executed,
The price paid,
And no appeals, summons, pleadings, stays or briefs
Could now change that outcome.
No de facto or de jure actions could in anyway retrieve the prior state of affairs.
But oddly with this outcome it is now the Law and all those under it
Who ever since have been on trial.

As if it were not enough that a ‘criminal’ had become King of Kings
Now on top of all else, all those who live in the Domain he has laid claim to
Are told that new occasions call for new duties,
For there is a new pact called new covenant governing the way the wheels of justice turn.
They grind slowly no longer, for they have ground to a halt until he returns.

And what interim rules he left!!--- ‘no oaths’ ‘no violence’ ‘no depositions’ ‘no suits’
Only testimonies on His behalf, only confessions of his lordship, only mandates to love One and all, as if it were ‘all for one’ instead of free-for-all.
Thank goodness he did not demand we like our enemies!

Yes, of course I have perused the Deposit, the nomina sacra, the ancient words,
Fully of odd stories, ad hoc letters, rhetorical discourses, even apocalypse of sorts
I must say—it hardly reads much like lex nova, more like sage sayings, and prescient promises.
So what’s left for a lawyer to do?

Consider this my last will and testament—
I have laid down the law, and determining I have a stake in this matter, I have taken up a cross. While dying daily is painful, it beats facing the music and the musings of the messiah, when he sits on the bema seat on judgment day. I trust my day in court then will go better than his did in A.D. 30 although as it turned out, he was vindicated by a surprising reversal, ex post facto, for it appears that the Spirit was as good at revivifying bodies as inspiring proclamations at Pentecost.

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