Creation, Care, Commitment, Community.
Last Sunday I began a series called “Pentecost Perspectives.” We thought about the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples from John’s point of view. His story describes Jesus “breathing” on them—the Spirit is given peacefully and privately. Next Sunday we will focus on the more familiar Pentecost story from Acts 2 when the Spirit comes very powerfully and publicly.
The sequence of events in Acts 2 following Jesus’ resurrection has been adopted by the Church— both theologically and liturgically. The gift of the Spirit is separated from the day of Jesus’ resurrection and the time of his ascension. The story in Acts 2 (and the “traditional” Church calendar that came later) place the day of Pentecost 50 days after Easter.
I have read and preached from this text for years and yet every time I come back to it I find it remarkable how relevant it remains—and it is particularly pertinent in the midst of the pandemic and protests that are happening across the country. Acts 2 paints a picture of the most diverse gatherings we could ever imagine—people from “every nation under heaven.” But out of the confusion and chaos, the Spirit brings an ability to communicate and the creation of a new community.
What implications does the story have for the way we “do” church? How can we “live out” Pentecost today? Are there appropriate times to “take the church to the streets?” Think about the recent protests and appeals for justice and the faces in the crowd. What groups of people are represented? Is it time to pray for another “Pentecost?”