Thursday, May 17, 2018

We need a Pentecost

From Christian Century-

As a child, my favorite story to recite was the narrative of Pentecost in the book of Acts. My love for this narrative was not surprising, as I was the child of a Pentecostal pastor. Each year, the most dramatically staged biblical story in our church was always the story of Pentecost. We loved entering the sacred terrain of retelling Pentecost, particularly reciting these words: “And they were gathered together in one accord.” That line communicated what was held as sacred within our community: our togetherness, our unbreakable bond of living with and loving each other. We were in one accord. The joy of community was the gift of the Spirit.

My church community also understood what made Pentecost a joyous occasion. Pentecost was about the miracle of community, the community across differences that was made possible through the work of the Spirit. Miracles sit at the center of this Acts narrative.

Just imagine, the disciples gather in the upper room, waiting to receive the Holy Spirit. Remember that they have been instructed by the resurrected Christ to wait until the Holy Spirit comes upon them. So they go to Jeru­salem. But something happens that they do not expect or even desire. Jews from around the world are gathered and suddenly hear the disciples in their own native languages and are stupefied. They ask, “What does this mean?” Is the im­possible actually transpiring? Jews from around the world cannot deny what they hear, that something that is impossible has become possible.

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