Archived Story

Upcoming festival of Pentecost is a celebration

Published 9:24am Friday, May 17, 2013

By the Rev. Don Rose
Mansfield and United
Lutheran Churches

Once again there have been many voices in the state speaking for God and defending what they are certain is God’s desire for human beings and for the world. It seems that whenever there is change from the status quo, from long held but perhaps erroneous beliefs, there is a scramble to use God as the defender of the way things have always been. There have been dire predictions of the ruin of civilization as we know it in Minnesota. Some have gone so far as to suggest that even God will turn God’s back on the people.

One might ask the question of where was this zeal when assistance for the poor was being reduced to allow the wealthy to keep more of what they have. Where was this zeal when the topic was moderate change in the availability of certain types of weapons and ammunition and in requirements for gun ownership?

But some might ask what about popular opinion and the polls? Sooner or later there will be the realization that time after time it has been shown that popular opinion and what seems to be commonly held values and beliefs may in fact not be right at all. At one time or another anyone who was viewed as being “other” by the predominant population has been relegated to second-class citizenship. Nice perhaps, good people perhaps, but for what ever reason not quite measuring up in value and worth to the others in the population. The advice that one just needs to give it time and that things might improve is well and good for those in the majority, but is of little hope or consolation for those who are being oppressed.

In a few days many Christians will celebrate the ancient festival of Pentecost. It is the celebration of the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon God’s people following Jesus’ Ascension according to the time frame of the writer Luke. It is a celebration of the new thing that God had done in Jesus and the new things that God would continue to do through Jesus’ followers. The key phrase here is “new things” for God continues to move in new and different ways in the world and that often makes God’s people anxious.

The thing to remember and celebrate is that this God is a God of love and compassion who promises to be with us always. That “always” includes times of change and upheaval in the midst of which God’s people are called to faithfully witness to and proclaim God’s love in the assurance that this love is for all and that God will not abandon us.