Crowd of young people singing joyfully, some with hands raised.

Photo by Kyle Smith on Unsplash

What they did at Pentecost 

May 25, 2023

They were signing at Pentecost.

Amidst the noise, the voices and tongues, there were hands—moving, speaking. Smiles alight, flames upon their brows, disciples shared the word with those who could not hear it. They spoke, to each in their own language.

They were rocking and handflapping at Pentecost.

Some of the disciples who had declined cure, whose own, unique wholeness had been recognized and affirmed by Jesus—these spoke with their bodies and with sounds, not words. All those called idiots, demon possessed, mad, sick—they gathered together and communed. The name of Christ may or may not have passed their lips, but they knew. They knew joy and love and promise and community, deep as body and blood, bread and cup. They knew that what had been denied them was at hand.

They were singing at Pentecost.

The tunes and rhythms carried what words could not. The people swayed and danced and clapped as the disciples stomped and howled their joy. Joy is catching. Love is contagious. It cannot be contained or explained. It cannot be bounded by words or languages, or by one notion of body and mind.

They broke down barriers at Pentecost.

No one was alone. No one was excluded. No one was normal. Everyone was held as they are.

The disciples broke down barriers at Pentecost. No one was alone. No one was excluded. No one was normal. Everyone was held as they are.

And they called them drunk.

And they called them crazy.

And they called them idealists, rebels, dissidents, dangerous.

And we are still dangerous.

We are still believers in the impossible.

How can we be anything else?

When we are moved by love and joy and Spirit, how can we not sign and sing and dance and flap? How can we be other than we are?

Our authentic being will change the world. How can it do anything else?

 God who communes in all ways at all times, may we find Pentecost within: the will to be exactly ourselves, and deeply connected to one another, all at once. Bring down your tongues of fire again. And may we practice Pentecost always. Amen.

Bekah Maren Anderson is director of Pastoral Care, The Julian Way, and cochair, UCC Disabilities Ministries.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Baptist Home Mission Societies.

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