This Sunday Christians around the world will celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. It is, however, an ancient festival among people of faith. First century Jews came to Jerusalem for the Feast of the First Fruits, the celebration of the spring harvest. The Feast of Pentecost is also the culmination of what began on Passover, a time to remember the deliverance of the people from slavery in Egypt.
On Pentecost, nearly two thousand years ago, Peter was preaching in Jerusalem. In the midst of a very diverse crowd, the Holy Spirit descended on the people gathered. A mighty wind moved among them and tongues of fire came to rest over the head of each person.
It was a diverse crowd – people from many races and nations had gathering for the celebration – yet everyone heard the message in their own language. Peter preached with holy boldness; more than 3,000 people were added to the Church on Pentecost.
In these days of separating ourselves, for health reasons, we see many divisions today. COVID-19 has exposed vulnerable, at-risk populations that some may have preferred to not see. Although the coronavirus is an equal opportunity infector, the death rates reveal substantially higher risk to African-Americans, the elderly, and people caught in poverty. The news continues to expose the racism in our nation. Our hearts broke this week as we saw four officers in Minnesota hold down an African American male so brutally that it resulted in his death.
This weekend we will explore an important account in the book of Acts: The baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch. I look forward to “wading in the water” with you, exploring the power of the Holy Spirit to unite and heal all of humanity.
May God richly bless you today; I look forward to connecting with you in worship online on Sunday through www.hydeparkchurch.org via live stream or through our Facebook page. Thank you for continuing to support the church’s ministry through your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness during this season of challenges.
Pastor Cathy Johns