The unifying power of Pentecost

Rhonda Mawhood Lee draws from memories of growing up in Montreal, a world of two languages, to reflect on the power of Pentecost:

In a world where powers and principalities seek to pit one group against another, our only hope of living into our divine citizenship is the unsettling and sustaining power of the Holy Spirit.

That is the power we celebrate on Pentecost. When we recite our multilingual liturgies, we evoke that long-ago day in Jerusalem when citizens of Rome and subjects of its territories, Jews born to the faith and new converts, all understood the apostles’ message without a human interpreter.

Multilingual Pentecost services always gladden my heart and remind me of home. But they also make me wonder, what are churches doing the rest of the year to break down cultural barriers? Often, the answer is very little. Even when we try, we typically approach the issues in ways that ignore the power dynamics at work among us, relics of the idolatries of race, culture and nation.

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