Pentecost Reflection | Scot McKnight


By Jeremy Berg, one in all our Northern DMin college students:

by Jeremy Berg

Are you able to think about Fb or Twitter with out disagreement or conflicting viewpoints? Are you able to think about a world with out political division? Are you able to think about a world united by one language and motivated by one grand objective?

We dwell in a cultural second of unprecedented division. Some have stated our nation hasn’t been this divided for the reason that Civil Warfare. There’s nothing “civil” about battle, and “incivility” in our public discourse is likely one of the major signs (and causes) of our rising hostility towards “the opposite.” 

This week’s widespread lectionary invitations us to dig into the which means of Pentecost Sunday, one of many main occasions within the Christian calendar. The texts middle across the function of language and speech within the human drama starting with Genesis 11:

Now the entire earth had one language and the identical phrases… And so they stated to 1 one other, “Come, allow us to make bricks, and burn them totally.” …Then they stated, “Come, allow us to construct ourselves a metropolis, and a tower with its prime within the heavens, and allow us to make a reputation for ourselves…” (Gen. 11:1-4)

The story begins with a human race completely united by widespread language and, sadly, a typical objective to defy God’s lordship and “make a reputation” for ourselves moderately than make God’s identify nice. This episode ends with a world divided into many languages and scattered overseas.

Divided languages quickly results in divided nations and warring tribes,  racial and ethnic prejudice, and a protracted unhappy historical past of “othering” individuals who seem totally different from us and who we don’t perceive.

We are able to draw a direct line from Babel’s demise to our incapability to speak in wholesome, constructive methods right now. We’ve a world and nationwide speech obstacle. In Paul Newman’s well-known phrases, “What now we have here’s a failure to speak.”

We’d like the nationwide equal of a wedding counseling session to be taught some primary communication abilities. I feel the answer would require greater than utilizing  “I statements” and working towards “lively listening” abilities (although that’s a begin).

We have to be taught an entire new language.

The Good Information is that God initiated the counseling session, refused to throw within the towel on His covenant relationship along with his human image-bearers. Jesus got here to show us the brand new language of Love. “The Phrase turned flesh…made his dwelling amongst us…filled with grace and fact.”

Now, as a substitute of fashioning bricks into sky-scraper monuments to our personal egos, God is fashioning human hearts into a brand new Temple for his Spirit to dwell. The church is that this edifice, and we’re the New Humanity studying to talk the candy and wonderful dialects of affection, peace, persistence, kindness, forgiveness, grace, mercy and reconciliation.

This Temple isn’t constructed by high-reaching acts of the human ego, however by decreasing ourselves in humble service to all of the “others” on the market we are likely to keep away from, misunderstand, worry, and are tempted to put in writing off. Jesus taught and embodied this new language of Love that may start to heal a divided world.

This New Humanity was born at Pentecost, when folks scattered the world over and divided by languages, instantly started to grasp each other once more. In Acts 2 we learn:

Amazed and astonished, they requested, “Usually are not all these who’re talking Galileans? And the way is it that we hear, every of us, in our personal native language? All had been amazed and perplexed, saying to 1 one other, “What does this imply?” However others sneered and stated, “They’re crammed with new wine.” (Acts 2:7-8, 12-13)

“How is it that we are able to perceive one another instantly?” the believers ask. Reply: They’ve been crammed with the Spirit who breaks down limitations and opens hearts to lastly hear “the opposite.”

“What does this imply?” the believers marvel. Reply: Simply think about how amazed and perplexed folks in our world be in the event that they noticed a group of numerous folks studying to talk the reality in love, uniting in a New Challenge of bringing a couple of extra loving and grace-filled world? That’s what I need our church to be busy about.

Are we crammed with the Spirit, or New Wine Jesus talked about? The watching world will know if we’re Christians by our Love. Similar to the Pentecost occasion, there’s nonetheless a number of sneering occurring by these but to expertise a very loving, Jesus-shaped church.

So, let Love be our widespread tongue and let’s preserve build up His Temple by inviting increasingly more hearts grow to be a part of the venture!

“You additionally, like dwelling stones, are being constructed right into a non secular home to be a holy priesthood…” (1 Peter‬ ‭2:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

Glad Pentecost!


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