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Pentecost! The birth of the church! We’ve come a long way since that ancient beginning.

The biblical passage for Pentecost suggests that the Christian church did not arise from a clear, single-mindedness of purpose. Our tradition, instead, burst into the world in a rush of wind, a blaze of fire, and a cacophony of voices and languages. There was no “golden age” of unity and harmony.

The mystery and miracle of the Jesus movement is that it rapidly gave birth to a vast array of interpretations, beliefs, and practices of faith. It may well be that this is, in part, what the passage in Acts 2 is trying to convey—that the speaking of tongues to the nations gathered in Jerusalem opens up the possibility that each nation will find its own unique way to express and to live out discipleship in Christ. All of those folks gathered around Peter and the first followers are going to go home and tell the story in their own language and with their own variations and nuances. Indeed, that has been the history of Christianity throughout the centuries. We may be called to be one in the Spirit, but certainly not one in practice!

Bernice Powell-Jackson once wrote, "Our present-day vision of Pentecost includes not only a vision of people speaking different languages and understanding each other, but of people of differing sexualities, abilities, races and income levels understanding each other."

 




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Rev. Susan A. Blain
Minister for Worship, Liturgy and Spiritual Formation
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3869
blains@ucc.org

Rev. Kathryn Matthews Huey
Dean of the Amistad Chapel
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3855
hueyk@ucc.org