On the liturgical calendar, this Sunday is the feast of Pentecost, the day we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and others in the Upper Room. Some call this the birthday of the church. I am not one of those. The Church was not born on the day of Pentecost since the church already existed. The Church was given its marching orders and came together on the day of Pentecost. The Church was “gathered together in one accord” on that day, and they were of one mind. It is that Spirit that we need in the church and the world today.
Princeton Theological Seminary Professor Keri L. Day has a piece in the Christian Century Magazine this week titled, “We need a Pentecost.” She writes about our divisions, political and theological, and how we need to get back to unity and not division. Here is a little selection:
In our social and political moment, we need Pentecost. Division, hatred, and pain mark our nation. Hearts must be transformed and attuned to practices of divine love. Debates over immigration persist even as we witness immigrant parents being torn from the arms of their children and grandchildren. People disagree over the presence of guns in this country as we grapple with the insufferable experiences of death within our schools. White and black communities disagree over our systems of policing and criminal justice. Tensions continue to rise over the presence of Islamic communities in this nation. This political moment is colored by a complete loss of mutual understanding and civility, causing many to feel resigned to the status quo.
Even more painful, hostility and bigotry characterize Christian churches, which have more of a tribal ethos, often ignoring or demonizing those who are different from them. Consider how Mexican immigrants are often depicted by President Trump’s administration, an administration that is supported by a record number of white churches. These immigrants are represented as criminal, lazy, and dangerous, in need of deportation to save the body politic. White ministers often suggest from pulpits that African Americans in urban areas are responsible for whatever injustices befall them because of their own sins, both personal and social. Such tribal perspectives fuel a culture of doubt and fear. And people feel a sense of helplessness. Such churches tend to embody Babel rather than Pentecost. We need a miracle.
Read the Rest Here