The sound of a mighty rushing wind that filled the house, the descent of the tongues as it were of flame, as yet unextinguished by the wind, the message of Pentecost is the message of power falling upon the disciples. And what was the miracle? Was it that the various nationalities mentioned in Acts 2 heard in their own language?
Or—was it as I prefer to think sometimes that they shut up and listened for once. Was it that the various races of people laid aside their mutual hatred one for another? For there was no love between the Parthians and Medes, Elamites and who ever else’s nationality represented there.
Was the real miracle of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit of God overcame the bondage of racism that has forever been a part of the human race, knitting and binding us into one, in unity in the family of God?
And, were that true, why then do we remain so exclusively suspicious of those who differ from us in culture and race? Why persist in pouring out all that energy assuring us that there are most assuredly those who shall not, under any circumstance ever enter the Kingdom. Why do we not instead look for the opportunities to respect the dignity of every human being, seeking and serving Christ in them, as he has loved us?
The gift of Pentecost, this Whitsunday, is not the gift to rant. Nor is it license to spew forth the rattlesnake’s venom towards those who differ from us religiously, politically, culturally. It is the gift to have courage, the courage to sit at table with those who are dissimilar, those whom we may not like. It is the courage at that table to break bread with them in Jesus’ name and for his sake. That power of God transformed the very world of the apostolic age; that power may yet transform the brokenness, the pain and animosity of this present time.