Thinking on Pentecost

The preacher made a couple of interesting points in his Pentecost sermon: One was that, while we often hear that the “Parthians, Medes, Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia, etc.” who were in the crowd and recipients of the Holy Spirit were representative of the universal salvation proclaimed by the Gospel message, actually they were in town for the Jewish festival of Pentecost, most of them would have been Jews!

And his second point was that that — contrary to the message of corporate identity the Jewish people had always majored in — one of the messages that Jesus brought was that God was interested in the individual as well…in establishing a relationship with humankind as individuals, not merely as a race or nation of people.

Well, of course, like all such observations, these are too simplistic. There were surely Gentile “believers”, God-fearers in the Pentecost crowd who also received the gift of the Holy Spirit. And, in any case, even if the “Parthians, Medes, etc” were representatives of the Jewish Diaspora, there is still a universal message sent by that pentecostal Gift.

And, while Jesus certainly was interested in individuals, his message of the Kingdom of God surely had something to do with nations and peoples as well. And, even though St. Paul does talk about the Holy Spirit’s gifts being “inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (I Cor. 12:11), isn’t the whole point of this chapter and section of First Corinthians that “the body does not consist of one member but many” (I Cor. 12:14)?

So…I might want to enter into conversation with the preacher about all this. Because…I’ve been thinking about what he said.        

And isn’t that what good preaching is supposed to make us do?



3 Responses to “Thinking on Pentecost”

  1. rwk Says:

    We are to bring the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection to the nations. That spirit is what inspired Livingston among others to risk all to spread the good news. That said, how would you respond to +Bruno who apologized to Hindus for Christian efforts to convert Hindus and said he would not support such efforts in the future?

  2. ecubishop Says:

    Well, my understanding is that Bishop Bruno was apologizing for “forced conversions” which did indeed happen with Hindus (and too often in the history of the Church) and not for appropriate efforts of evangelization which must always be part of her mission.

  3. rwk Says:

    From the LA Times:

    “I believe that the world cannot afford for us to repeat the errors of our past, in which we sought to dominate rather than to serve,” Bruno said in a statement read by the Rt. Rev. Chester Talton. “In this spirit, and in order to take another step in building trust between our two great religious traditions, I offer a sincere apology to the Hindu religious community.”

    The bishop also said he was committed to renouncing “proselytizing” of Hindus. Bruno had been scheduled to read the statement himself, but a death of a close family friend prevented him from attending the service.

    The first paragraph I could fairly see as an apology for past excesses, but not the second. Maybe the reporter got it wrong, but since I haven’t seen a retraction or complaint from the Diocese of LA to the LA Times, I’d be inclined to assume the citation was accurate.

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