Since having been at Trinity, I haven't worn a black clerical robe, but I must admit, I cherish any chance I get to sport the red stole that was gifted to me by my parents on the occasion of my ordination – though my fondness for Pentecost runs deeper than clerical swag.
I love that at Pentecost the fledgling church was “all together in one place.” Pentecost happened not just to a single individual, but in community. I love that “they all were filled with the Holy Spirit.” Men and women and children. Poor and rich. Educated and non-literate. I love that Pentecost is not subtle; it’s so in-your-face. The roaring wind of the Spirit breathing life into this new body; the tongues of fire resting on each one like life-sized candle flames. I love that “there were pious Jews from every nation under heaven” present – meaning from every people or language-group, representing the whole then-known-world. I love that some were likely immigrants, multicultural Greek-speaking citizens of the Roman Empire living in Jerusalem, not just visitors or pilgrims passing through.
I love that each one hears the good news in his and her own language. This is not the glossolalia (individual prayer language) of 1 Corinthians 12. The focus is more on the hearers, who understand what’s being said. There is not one unifying language at Pentecost; but there is one voice, one uniting story – the gospel – that is heard in multiple culturally distinct ways. Everyone is included. I love that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, who though absent in body is still and forever God-with-us and for us, which means no matter how bleak it looks at any given time, the coming of Christ’s “kin-dom” (not a typo) cannot be stopped.
I love Pentecost because it reminds us that the church is not pastor or personality dependent; not 3-year-plan or written-mission-vision-values dependent; not big numbers, or program, or building-driven; but, Spirit-created, Spirit-led, Spirit-dependent and Spirit-sustained.
Sunday is Pentecost. Join us in worship as we celebrate the rushing movement of God's Spirit!