Pentecost in America Today

In 33 AD a group of men and women sat in a room, afraid.  They had witnessed something so mind-boggling, so unbelievable as to redefine the world and our relationship with it. The central reality of Christianity, that God came, died, and rose for our salvation. They had seen Him, had spoken with him and ten days earlier they had watched Him be taken up to the heavens. After getting over the shock of His resurrection, the apostles must have figured they had the world in the palm of their hands. After all, how do you compete with God, who cannot stay dead? And then He was gone.

In all the world, of all time, this must have been the most ‘O snap!’ moment. Can you imagine the looks on their faces? What were they to do? This time it seemed like he was not coming back, at least not that often. The table had turned, the world completely went upside down and they were stuck. So, they slunk back to the upper room, the place where it all started, and they hid. For four days, they waited for the authorities to take them away. They jumped at
every sound, asked, begged, and pleaded to the God they just watched leave them, after saying He would be with them to the end of the world.

And then, something totally unexpected occurred. When hope was lost, disaster was threatening, the Holy Spirit came. Outside of speaking in many different tongues, nothing happened but everything changed. Where there was fear, there was courage. Where there was confusion, there was clarity. The eucatastrophic moment, the victory that started the Christian church, the Pentecost, was a change in mindset.  You do not have to believe in God, in Jesus Christ, or in the Holy Spirit, to recognize that the men and women in that room were filled with a fire that still burns brightly in this world.

What does the Christian Pentecost show us in America today? We find ourselves in a challenging spot, do we not?  Trust is at an all-time low, scandals abound, and children in our schools are being killed. Yet at the same time, the nation is filled with people who care, who spend their days helping. My 81-year-old mother the other day needed help getting some potting soil into her car, so she asked two strapping young men who were walking by for help. With a quick, “Sure thing, ‘mam” they picked up the bag, popped it in the car and as they left my mother promised to pray for them. That is America. America is not a land filled with hatred
and rancor, it is a land of men and women.

Pentecost showed us that a small group of men and women, filled with the Holy Spirit could change the world. So can we. This Pentecost, let us take back our nation, show love to our
neighbor, help a new friend, go to church, and worship God. Our nation needs us, and our schools need us. If we want to set it right, let’s start by loving each other.