On the Day of Pentecost, Christians celebrate the end of separation — separation from God and from each other.
Pentecost is the day the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples of Jesus. We, like them, followers of God, are no longer separate from God. On this day the Holy Spirit began dwelling in every human heart that welcomes it. Just as a stinking stable in Bethlehem became the holy place of Jesus’s birth, so our souls become holy when we hear the Good News and rejoice.
Pentecost is also the day the disciples of Jesus recognized they were no longer separate from others, no matter what faith, race, or nationality the others claimed. We can be like the disciples. We can be filled with God’s Spirit and connect to others regardless of our differences. Beginning on Pentecost, God’s people were no longer just the tribes of Israel but all nationalities, all servants and masters, young and old, poor and rich, the primitive and the civilized, regardless of sex, race, and every other way in which we separate ourselves from one another.
We do not say that there are no differences. There are many differences, but no difference should be a cause of separation. Just as nothing can separate us from God’s love for us, no difference should cut off our love for one another. We love one another just as God loves us. We forgive one another just as God forgives us. We are one in the Spirit. We are one in the Lord.
Let me say it stronger. Our love for others is not dependent on others loving us. Our enemies will continue to attack us and we will continue to defend ourselves. We will be tempted to hate our enemies, to punish them when we are victorious, to celebrate their deaths. Let us be like Jesus, who forgave those who struck him, those who mocked him, those who killed him. In victory, let us be loving. In defeat, let us look to God who makes all things new, not letting hate poison our hearts. That’s the real battleground, fought with the gentlest of weapons and the softest of words.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Danny N. Schweers serves on the Vestry at SsAM and wears other volunteer hats as well, including webmaster for this website. Every week he writes a prayer to go with one of his photos and sends them out to subscribers. Click here to see his Photo Prayer website.