Pause

Pour your Spirit upon us, O Lord; we are your sons and daughters.

Animate us with your gifts to serve your people.

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Listen

There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?” Others jeered at them, saying, “They’re full of new wine!”

Acts 2:5-13

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Think

Pentecost was already an important festival for Jewish people, including Jesus’ disciples. It is still celebrated today: called Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks. It commemorates God’s gift of the Law at Mount Sinai and the formation of the Jewish people as a nation that worships the Lord.

On the Pentecost we read about today, pious Jews from every nation had made pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate the knitting together of their community.

The Holy Spirit made pilgrimage too. Just as at Mount Sinai, a new community was formed again. This time, the people were united not around one Law, one way of serving God, but around a new power: the power of many languages. The power of many voices, not one. The power of difference.

The power of difference isn’t always respected. It’s common for people to want everybody to be the same. They jeer and say there must be something wrong with us. But God says otherwise. God recognizes the gift of difference.

Jordan Haynie Ware

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Pray

Generous God, you have given the gift of your Law and the gift of your Spirit: may I use those gifts wisely to tell the world of your power. Draw diverse peoples together to witness your glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord, through whose light we see light. Amen.

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Go

Breathe upon us, breath of God, young and old alike.

Send us forth, gifted with your power, to serve your people.

Jordan Haynie Ware

The Rev. Jordan Haynie Ware is the Rector of Good Shepherd Anglican Church in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Jordan is the author of The Ultimate Quest: A Geek’s Guide to (the Episcopal) Church and co-host of the podcasts Two Feminists Annotate the Beatified and Two Feminists Annotate the Bible. She lives in Edmonton with her husband, Derek, and their retired racing greyhound.

Be Still My Soul

Rodrigo Rodriguez

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