Pentecost - Year B
Can you imagine Pentecost without everyone being together? That seems to be what we have turned it into. Instead of being able to speak in the native tongue of others, there is an insistence that my formulation of G*D’s deeds of power is the only creditable one - so you learn my language.
Note that the first part of this extended sermon has not yet mentioned Jesus. Pentecost is a universalized experience and without that expansiveness would not have had the effect it did.
The communal nature of Pentecosts has deep roots. Remember Tobit 2:1-2 where enjoying and sharing a feast completes the rejoicing. If you go on to verse 3 ff. there is a presaging that here also it won’t be long before the joy of this moment seems very fragile and sorrow arrives.
The practice of counting seven times seven weeks (or years) and then having a Jubilee time is time-honored. For a moment, step back from Easter as an individual event and see Pentecost as a time of consolidating our individual responses to crucifixion/resurrection or dashed-hopes/hope-aglimmering and moving toward economic justice, a meeting with foreigners and the poor. If it is just motivation for a party, we’ll take it, but hope that that party has redemptive qualities beyond feeling good (not to discount feeling good).
What is a vision? - What is a prophesy? - Where is a community? - that will transform us again to pilgrims covenanted together across our divides and moving together toward creating a paradise among us?