Pentecost – Year B
Given the scope of time, ten days from Ascension to Pentecost is pretty good for a slow-mill G*D.
One key is that they were "all together". Apparently Thomas wasn't taking any chances about a second visit and stuck pretty closely to the others. Or, the spirit waited for that one moment in ten days when folks were all together "in one place."
From this distance we tend to get caught up with wind and fire, and miss the "all" set-up.
The word "all" shows up four times and is implied in the passage from Joel that gives the kinds of parentheses that indicate all – sons and daughters, young and old. It is this "all" that might well be thought of as G*D's presence or deeds that are touted (glimpsed and affirmed).
Pentecostal tests that leave someone out, break the "all"ness of Pentecost. As wonderful as folks speaking is that of folks listening. Likewise, the distance between amazement and perplexion (why isn't this a word?) is less than ten days and we need to be careful about making too much of this maturational or experiential difference.
In keeping with St. Augustine's appreciation of Ascension, Pentecost is one logical result of what it means to stop looking toward "heaven" or away from one another. When we are gathered and begin to really see one another, it is a Pentecost and a result of such seeing of an all-ness in this small gathering is energy to find all-ness in a larger setting, one beyond our usual boundaries.
Imagine again, where two or three are gathered and agree – what power there is (yes for good or ill)!
In Jewish tradition, Pentecost is Shavuot – a time of remembrance of the Mosaic Commandments, the Torah. An appreciation of "all" is helpful for both Pentecost and Shavuot.
United Methodists will soon be voting on a change in their constitution that changes a negative approach to its ministry ("without regard to . . .") to a positive one simply saying, "we are in ministry to all persons". Time (more than ten days) will tell if two-thirds of those voting will see this as a Pentecostal moment or if they will hang on to an incremental ministry of including one specially identified group after another as "we" become comfortable with "them" by continuing to note or protest too much that "our ministry" is without regard to "them".