Sunday, June 04, 2006
Happy Holy Spirit Day
I've heard once that Flannery O'Connor was quoted as saying that you can tell a lot about a community from the stories it tells.

Today the people of Yahweh tell the story of Pentecost. Today we tell the story from Acts 2 when the disciples gathered, the Spirit descended like tongues of fire and the Church was born. Did your community celebrate the Church's birthday?

But the story begins a little further back. In fact, there are a couple of Old Testament stories that act as a prologue to this story. The first is an obscure little tale found in Genesis 11, linking the stories of Noah and Abraham. Humankind is united in language. And pride. And ambition. There is power in unity. And power used for selfish purposes gets thwarted by God. Pay attention to verse 6:

And Yahweh said, "Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this in only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them."

One people. One language. Nothing impossible. And so humankind is broken and scattered. Communication is rendered futile. Lots of talking but nobody understands. Unity is shattered. Relationships are divided.

Now skip over to Acts 2:8-11. One language. What was scattered is reunited. The brokenness of Babel begins working backwards on the day of Pentecost. The unity of Babel is about making a name for yourself. The unity of Pentecost is about boasting God's mighty acts.

So what is impossible for the people of God made one by the Holy Spirit?

The second story that enlightens the birth of the Church is the Festival of Booths, or Tabernacles, found in Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16. But I think I should save that for another day.

In the meantime, Aaron K. put together a photo slideshow for his community and used some of my photos. You can download the .wmv file over at his blog.

Be sure to tell the story.

The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world, alleluia, alleluia.

posted by Peter at 11:24 PM
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