This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, and it is also the start of the second half of the church year. But we STILL talk about Jesus. The 'main' text, though, is from Acts 2[:1-21]. There are many things one could focus upon in this section of scripture. What about a focus on sitting?
You might recall that those who are the focus of attention at the beginning of the chapter are described as 'sitting' (verse 2). Some people have argued that, because there are more than eleven languages listed in the text, the 'they' in the text must refer to more than the eleven apostles. But certainly one person can speak more than one language, especially if he or she did not have to learn it in the first place! So it seems that the 'they' of chapter two refers to the eleven apostles, since these are the very last two words of chapter one.
Sitting has, for centuries, been considered a position of authority. Kings would sit on their thrones. Other people would have to stand. This perspective almost immediately appears in the Gospel according to Luke. When Gabriel is talking to Zechariah, he says, 'I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you this good news (Luke 1:19).'
Most recently, sitting has been seen as a health hazard. How things can change! Too much sitting, especially with a poor posture, can be bad for the spine. Some have even compared it to smoking.
Even if the ones sitting were only the eleven, it is important to note that they were not the only things to be described as sitting. When the 'tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them' (verse 3), these tongues, in the original language, are described as sitting.
That does not mean that those tongues were sitting on the top of their heads. The picture in the original Small Catechism has the 'tongues as of fire' coming out of their mouths. We can never be sure of how something looked. I like that perspective though. It is as though the Lord takes over that part of the body. That is what a clerical is meant to point out--the white is near the throat and certainly not near the heart! This also reminds me of Dr. Luther's description of the church as a 'mouth house'.
The Lord has the authority. And authority is different than power. Authority has a clear source, an 'author'. The focus may be on power, only if it is needed, if his gifts are rejected and if there is a rebellion.
The apostles were, by the way, only doing what they were told. Some of the last words of Jesus were a command to 'stay' in Jerusalem (Luke 24:49). The word here literally means to sit.
Some of the other people whom we find sitting in the Gospel according to Luke have a different kind of authority. They like the idea of power. That is why the Church's focus is not simply on Jesus, but it is on the message, the message of his love. The focus is on his death and resurrection. And he showed himself alive to his followers in some very loving ways. In a sense, the Easter season continues.