Pentecost is coming. It’s just upon the horizon. Soon we will culminate our Easter observation with the Christian feast day commemorating the birth of the Church, the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the first followers of Jesus, or the final dispensation of God’s self-revelation to creation, depending your theological tradition.
Pentecost is weird. There is no way around the strangeness. The story is bizarre. “About 120 gathered in the upper room for prayer,” is only the beginning. Soon ecstatic proclamations in every known language will flow from the lips of Jesus’ small tribe of followers. This strange happening is described as “tongues as of fire, distributed and descending on each of them,” and it often overshadows the other metaphysical sign of the day, the sound like a rushing wind coming down from heaven.
God’s self-revelation is weird, the Holy Spirit manifestation is weird, or the birth of the Church is weird; better yet, maybe it’s unreasonable to assume anything about Pentecost as normal. If “normal” is fitting into an ethos of consumption, seeking personal pleasure no matter the cost, or accepting the messages of inadequacy – that you’re not cool enough, individual enough, pretty enough, athletic enough, smart enough, rich enough, creative enough, etc. – then the world needs less “normal” and more Pentecost!
There is no regard given to deserving or not deserving on the day of Pentecost. On that day there are no games of red-rover, no exclusivity of any kind. The likely and unlikely, the acceptable and the strange are all gathered together. Only one thing binds them, their connection to Jesus, and then like a gust of wind upon the landscape of history Christian ministry is born.
Some are tempted to truncate the affect of Pentecost to the elevation of Peter as the greatest among equals. And yes, he is the one who stands and preaches; however, all means ALL on the day of Pentecost. God’s self-revelation is not limited to the theologically trained. The Holy Spirit is found among the passionate and the practical. The Church includes the gifts of all, the weird, the strange, the bizarre, and everyone else, and it has done so since its very conception.
The day of Pentecost implies a message for First Christian Church and every manifestation of the body of Christ today. Ministry is for everyone. No one is exempt; no one is excluded. You may be shy or lacking confidence or been told to “Shut up” in the past. No matter, the Spirit can, does, and will give you utterance. Affirmed and inspired by the breath of heaven already within you, in the fashion of Jesus you have beautiful, unique gifts to offer the world, and Pentecost is the celebration of your inclusion in the body of Christ. Ministry is for everyone – yes even you.