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Pentecost – the breath of God

Today is Pentecost Sunday. It shouldn’t be, but it is a sad day. So much confusion. One trouble after another. Many questions, and not enough answers. Great rumblings; the voices are loud and mixed; hard to find clarity. Passion stirs activity, emotions and hysteria. There is need for understanding of what’s going on.

Before this week, we tried to stretch our comprehension of what’s happening in the world with the vengeful threat of coronavirus. But today, the stifling fear of the mysterious virus has been dominated with grief and anger riding the streets of big cities in the US.

Today is Pentecost Sunday. A time to celebrate the sending of the Spirit of God to the apostles, disciples, and then the multitudes, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus sent His Spirit to both Jews and Gentiles. The Spirit is for all, old and young, believer or non-believer. It is up to every heart to accept through faith in Jesus.

Yet, it is a sad day.

Today, I listened to the live stream service online of the First Presbyterian Church on Cal Berkeley campus. Pastor Mark’s sermon commemorated Pentecost and delved into the meaning and origin of Pentecost. He mentioned that when the apostle Peter preached to the crowd after the Holy Spirit indwelled in him, he taught primarily about the resurrection of Christ. In Christ’s resurrection, He defeated death, after His own sacrificial death on the cross for the redemption of mankind. Understanding this greatest love is understanding the nature of God and His immeasurable and unequalled love for us, His children.

Love was the subject of Pastor Andy’s sermon at the live stream worship today of Peninsula Bible Church of Palo Alto. So fitting in today’s situation (as in all situations). Birth pains are happening all over again. With the world still grieving over the loss of loved ones to COVID-19, and the population still in the throes of uncertainty over the spread of the virus, then rushes another wave of pain over social injustice, an issue that rears its head time and again. At the heel of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, pain and anger continue to move people to the streets across the nation. While most march with the sincere motive of voicing their grief over injustice, a few grab the opportunity to shout their protest with aggression and violence, clashing with forces that primarily are there to protect the crowds. The purity of the movements are marred by the desperate acts of a handful – maybe, a few, hopeless in their desperation. While others whose properties or businesses have been damaged are struggling to pick up the pieces.

It is a sad day, indeed, and we all need the Holy Spirit to stir people’s hearts to a realization of what love is, the love that comes from God. If we, every man, woman and child has the love of God in his/her heart, then we can respectfully treat each other with the value that God has put on everyone. Then this would be a better world. But that love has to start in everyone’s heart. That peace has to start in everyone’s heart. We pray for God’s justice to reign.

Today celebrates Pentecost, when Jesus breathed His Spirit into our hearts, so that we might breathe the breath of God. A powerful message — a potent response to protestors’ rallying cry – “I can’t breathe!”

Linda P. Jacob

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