The best way to think about Pentecost is to consider that without that event the church would have no power. Pentecost is the day when churches all over the world pause to remember the moment in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit swept into the upper room where the disciples of Jesus were still in hiding, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus. Up to that point, those men barely ventured outdoors for fear that what had happened to Jesus might also happen to them. Up to that point, there was no preaching going on and no healings occurring in the name of Jesus. There was just a group of frightened people not knowing what to do next. Christ may well have been risen, but before the Day of Pentecost “the church had no power!”
On March 4, 2020 we published the first of many articles in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Today, we mark the occasion with this series of excerpts from articles published over the past year. They are a reminder of trials and tribulations experienced and challenges that remain. As with all that we publish, we hope these excerpts will inspire, encourage, and challenge our readers to bring a greater measure of justice, mercy, and faith into our communities and world.
Following the attack on the Capitol one week ago today, we asked our contributing authors to share a brief reflection or excerpt from what they were planning to say to their congregations in sermons, pastoral letters, and prayers.
The people of Israel had to wait more than 700 years before the Messiah promised in Isaiah would finally appear in a manger in Bethlehem as recounted in Luke. They could not rush the event. Employing a trait almost completely absent from the sensibilities of our on-demand culture in the 21st century, they had to wait in the hope that the bright, new day God had promised would surely come to pass.
Advent 2020 puts Christians in precisely the same position; we have to wait for the new day, for the emergence of what Josiah Royce, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lewis all referred to as “the beloved community.”
Public protest by concerned citizens is one of the most basic and fundamental rights of any American citizen. Video of Floyd’s death by asphyxiation captured on multiple cell phones was one of the darkest and yet most revealing moments in recent American history.