This weekend is Pentecost.
During the time of Jesus, Pentecost began as a Jewish festival called Shavuot when our Hebrew brethren remember the gift of the law on Mount Sinai. That was the beginning of the great covenant that would impact the Jewish faith for millennia, even to this very day.
So it should not be surprising that Christ chose to reaffirm that covenant and expand it in the new covenant on the same day.
Most of us learned the story in Sunday School: the disciples were gathered together and tongues of fire descended from heaven and landed on their head so that all around them could understand one another. This new gift allowed the Gospel to not only be preached to one people, but to all peoples – extending God’s covenant to the ends of the earth.
It is the birthday of the church. And it is a time for us to reaffirm our commitment to God’s call for our lives.
An essential truth of Pentecost that is often overlooked is that the gift of language was not in order to use force, but to enlarge understanding.
Much as travel removes prejudice from us, God’s gift of ever-expanding language was meant to create ever-growing opportunities for us to converse with our fellow humans in love. The love that Christ has given to us and commanded of us.
If our aim is love first, then we will begin by opening our ears and eyes and hearts to listen to hear and understand. That is what we are meant to do. Only then will we see the wonderfully and fearfully made children of God in our midst. Truly know them. And see God’s path ahead for us together.
For remember this: the Gospel is Love. No more. No less.
And that is our calling.
Happy Birthday Church! Remember your calling. Remember that the Holy Spirit is always with us. Remember to love first, always, and forever.
Blessings, Pastor Janie