Dear Friends: Today is Pentecost. Historically, the church remembers the disciples gathered together 49 days after the Resurrection (Easter) to celebrate Shavot. This is the day that Jews celebrated the giving of the Torah – the first five books of what we call the Old Testament to Moses. It was also a time of celebrating the planting of seeds. The Greek word for Shavot is “Pentecost” . The disciples assembled and all of a sudden they realized the power flowing through them all. This was the Holy Spirit. It profoundly changed them. It was not the old Pentecost which they had come to celebrate but a "new Pentecost"! The new Pentecost revealed to them that they had received an Original Blessing from God. They had power to preach love, restoration, inclusion and to break the bonds of the old understanding that God only loved the Jews and in their own country. God's power and Presence was for everyone! This is the symbolism of everybody speaking their own language and being understood. They were speaking a language of Praise of Jesus. This message was to be spread among the whole known world. It was a breakthrough! A new paradigm of belief and understanding. God's love is for all a matter of what race, color, creed or language!
Today we celebrate Pentecost under a cloud. Sadly, we seem to have part of the Christian church which celebrates this Pentecost but who see themselves as being exclusive and better than other members of the Christian church having forgotten the original vision of Christianity. Racism has raised its ugly head in North America. The reaction to Racism while based in love sometimes turnes negative towards violence to match the violence done by those who are being racist and oppressive. Compounding this is the fear and uncertainty of the pandemic, Covid – 19. Added to this is the realization that climate change is slowly moving around the planet with its destruction being caused by man-made influences on our environment. We are destroying God's gift to us! How do we respond in 2020 in the midst of all this pressure? It seems that our neighbours are responding in fear, denial, and with violence. People are attempting to find scapegoats or in their own panic lashing out emotionally which helps them feel better as it "mood alters" them and disguises the reality within which we are situated.
We are called as Progressive Christians to not emulate these paths. We are called to love, include, to heal, to listen, to embrace, to bring hope. This is God's true call-a call to love. Jesus has taught us how to love and the Holy Spirit gives us courage to love. It takes guts to love in this dark time but we are called into being lovers of the planet and all of creation on it. The God bless us this day, this day of Pentecost when we celebrate the power the Holy Spirit within us. A call to act courageously with integrity and love.