Sunday, May 10, 2020

Acts 1.6-14: Generating Power

So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you..." (Acts 1:6-8). You could make a case that 1936 was a year that America received power (or was at least intrigued with power). 

Oh, not power like the Holy Spirit gives, but electric power. Hoover Dam, Fort Peck Dam, and Inwood Power Station were all of interest to artists in 1936. The Union Pacific Railroad Boulder City Branch railroad carried workers and materials from Boulder City to the dam's construction site. Margaret Bourke-White's photograph of the Fort Peck Dam brought to industrial sites the same monumentality as photographs of ancient cities or Gothic cathedrals. Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas created a portrait of a new hydroelectric power plant on the banks of the Harlem River. How almost unimaginable the potential for power was during the years of industrialization and mechinization. 

How much power could be generated with something as common as water. Of course that common water had to be dammed up and carefully monitored and restrained in order to have it make power. 
Margaret Bourke-White. Fort Peck Dam. 1936. Aaron Douglas. Inwood Power Plant, 1936. 
Hoover Dam brochure by Union Pacific Railroad. 1931.
Is that like the power given by the Holy Spirit? Would you say that the Holy Spirit gives us power or gives us resources that, if managed, can give us great power? Or, conversely, if ignored or ill-managed can remain dormant?

The promise was that the disciples would receive power. How the power was made and what the disciples would do with it....well, at the point of our Acts text, that story was yet to be told. Maybe it is still yet to be fully told.

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