With Love from Pat
Friday, May 13, 2016
This Sunday (May 15) is called Pentecost Sunday. We will read the story of the first day of Pentecost found in Acts 2:1-21, and we’ll think about what that first day of Pentecost has to do with this year’s day of Pentecost.
Jesus had been executed by Rome fifty days before that first day of Pentecost. There were a few stories that suggested that Jesus’ death had not really stopped the work and the way of Jesus. Some were beginning to say that it was still possible to bring God’s love to the world in the ways that Jesus did. Others were beginning to realize that not even death can stop God’s extraordinary love.
Yet for the most part, the first followers of Jesus concluded that all hope was lost. They lived in an ongoing state of fear, worrying that if they were ever identified with Jesus and Jesus’ work, then they, too, would be hunted down and murdered.
The story of Pentecost is a story about how all that changed. Those who were afraid to share God’s love with everyone, those who were scared to be with the marginalized and outcasts, those who were afraid to cry out for justice based on the eternal truth that we are all beloved children of God—those who were frightened—were suddenly filled with an experience of God’s presence in their lives. There was this living sense of a living presence. The first followers of Jesus now started to tell the truth about God’s unconditional and limitless love. They also began to live in ways that would make Jesus smile.
I love that story! And it is our story. It is really easy for any of us to be overcome by fear, discouragement, and a sense of powerlessness. But the day of Pentecost reminds us that love overcomes fear. The day of Pentecost reminds us that bringing God’s love to others overcomes discouragement. The day of Pentecost reminds us that working for justice overcomes our sense of powerlessness.
I believe that the Pentecost story is the story our world needs now. It is the story of passion and compassion coming together to change lives and bring love, kindness, and justice to the world. We all know we need that.
As we recall this ancient story of Pentecost, we have the opportunity to make that story come alive once again in so many ways. What a joy that is—living out this story together.
Rev. Pat Bruns is the Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church of Boulder. Email him at patrickrbruns at fumcboulder dot org.