In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the epidemic of institutional racism and individual bigotry in the United States, we are called to commemorate and participate in Pentecost. How appropriate and timely! The fulfillment of the divine promise: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8) – Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, and from shining sea to shining sea.
Pentecost was the democratization of God’s power for accessibility and inclusivity. No more exclusive access to God’s power by chaplains of empire. Moreover, Pentecost was actualizing people power for equity across ethnic, class, racial, religious and generational boundaries.
The pain of the cross became the path that leads to Pentecost! The arrival of the Holy Spirit transformed real and perceived barriers into powerful and righteous bridges towards racial and social equity. It was ALL hearts, hands, and heads on deck to turn the world upside down!!
“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:3-4) Disruption!!!
Caught-up in the slumber of internalized and institutionalized racism that was constructed through the looting of the lands and cultures of the First Nations, and continue to be nurtured by a dehumanizing system of racial capitalism, may we be disrupted by the ongoing awakenings in the streets.
Let’s be clear, this didn’t start in Minneapolis. From the murders of Emmett to Trayvon, these WOKE marches for strategic systemic change has been rolling on. Like the burning bush in Exodus, the American house has been burning from the inside out. The illusion of exceptionalism has reached the location of nihilism!! White silence is acquiescence to systemic violence and acidic to attempts of sincerity.
If protests are the language of the unheard, welcome once again to the Pentecostal tongues of fire in the United States of America. Let us stay safe, well and not lose heart in doing the work of disrupting and dismantling the blasphemous ideology of white supremacy, for in due time, we will reap the harvest of beloved community if we do not grow weary (Galatians 6:9).
Pentecost is about people power for progress towards restoring the humanity and dignity of the marginalized through accessibility, equality and equity. Anything else is the practice of a religion that has become spiritually moribund, filled with irrelevance and irreverence.
We must continue to stand on God’s promise to pour out God’s Spirit on all people who stand ready to resist the violence perpetrated by the ideology and theology of white supremacy. A spirit that calls for sons and daughters, young and old, to gather at the intersection of agitation, mutuality and solidarity with reimagined visions for a sustained victory over the COVID-19 pandemic and the epidemic of institutional racism and individual bigotry from shiny sea to shiny sea! (Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17).
The commemoration of Pentecost longs for participation and fulfillment.