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?