This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost together. We read about it in the book of Acts, chapter 2. It is the day God sends his Holy Spirit upon the people. In truth, Pentecost existed as a celebration prior to this historic event in the life of the early church. We know this because the scriptures say, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.” Pentecost comes from the word for “fifty” and it was the celebration of first fruits that came 50 days after Passover for the Jewish people. It was on this day, when the people were already gathering to partake of the first fruits of the harvest, that God chose to send his Spirit with tongues of fire.
In the book Uncommon Ground, hip hop artist Lecrae talks about the way in which we are wired for story. Our brains have this need to make sense of our world. We need to know why things are the way that they are. So we study history, religion, and astrology because we are hardwired to want to make meaning of the world. Even if we get the story wrong, at least we have a why; we have closure in our brains.
Every story has essential components to it. You have a protagonist, and a plot, and a problem, and a villain. You have something that is broken, and in need of repair, and you have a hero who overcomes. And what most of us do when we try to make sense of our broken world, is we look to find ways to divide the world up into good guys and bad guys.
Usually, we decide who the good guys and the bad guys are based on behaviors, or categories, or other external markers that we use to judge one another. But what we see on Pentecost is that God’s spirit falls on everyone gathered. “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:7) The tongues of fire do not just come to the “good guys” or to the priests, or the educated, or the clergy. The tongues of fire fall on men and women, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile. In this story, the one true story that explains all other stories, God is unleashing his power and presence like never before. I hope as we celebrate Pentecost Sunday together this week that we will want to be filled with God’s Spirit like we want air to breathe. I pray that we will want to be united by this power more than any other story marker that our world might offer.
Happy Pentecost, Platt Park Church. May the wind and fire of God’s spirit be upon you in a mighty way today.