Pentecost, No Longer Babel
Wind of God: Fire of God: Voice of Jesus keep on speaking so the peoples of the earth may speak your language to each other wherever Babel drowns out the sound of Pentecost. Amen.
The tower of Babel: an ancient Hebrew explanation, a myth, of how languages came to be. Yet how separate all the peoples of the earth are to each other. The unbuilt tower as a testament of how difficult it seems to agree. Yet here is the spirit of Jesus offered as a source of togetherness the world had not seen before. Nations continuing to this day to rise against each other; yet here is Jesus offering his Spirit so separation may cease at least among those who call on Jesus’ name. Dependance upon that spirit of Jesus draws us closer to the heart of God and we continue to know in our own hearts we are God’s beloved children. We tend to think of Pentecost only in terms of the spirit coming upon those waiting disciples in that upper room. Dozens of them praying, longing, finally filled to overflowing.
Yet this day is really about the spirit of Jesus promised to those who ask. Asking to be adopted into God’s abundance into that family that speaks thousands of languages. Asking to be filled with the Spirit, to be led in life by that same spirit. to call upon the name of God as a child calls to a parent. It’s that close and it’s that easy. But we, like the people of Babel, set aside that closeness often forgetting we are all really related.
For the Spirit longs to join with our own in whatever language we might use so we might be known in that intimate way as people in a family long to know each other. And Jesus is in the center of that longing for it is his spirit that draws us together, bringing him to mind, continually learning his teachings so we will grow as community.
The spirit of Jesus is not some ineffable, mysterious presence. His spirit is tender and personal, for she comes among us, alongside our own human spirit to bear witness we are Jesus’ own, God’s children, a family which will be there for each other as the spirit dwells within each. Yet it’s more than being community and family. The Spirit unveils Jesus and his teachings so we have continual fresh clarity how to be faithful, how to keep his commandments, how to befriend the outcast, how to speak up for the marginalized, how to speak truth when lies abound, how to be fearless in an age when fear is all around. This is Jesus’ spirit! This is how we are to live with that same spirit indwelling, pushing us beyond our human limits how to go beyond what Jesus did in his time and space and continue to bring the presence of God into the plight of humanity.
And the only way to do all this is to ask, to believe, to seek, to join together in that blessed walk of faith. This is Pentecost: the community coming together as followers as children of God filled with Jesus’ spirit so we are no long the people of Babel but a family speaking the same language of love. Amen.