We celebrate Pentecost Sunday, but it feels like we commemorate Pentecost Sunday. We are figuratively limping into this day, which should be a day of celebration and calling out to God for a fresh outpouring of his Spirit.
Coronavirus has limited the ability to gather as a church. Our church will still be online this week. Then, the crushing news of the past several weeks should burden us on this day:
The revealing of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery crushed us. A young black man murdered on his own town’s streets by two vigilante white men… and not dealt with for two months before a video was leaked.
The murder of Breonna Taylor in her own home because police were executing a no-knock warrant… on the wrong house.
The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in broad daylight… on video.
If ever we need the power of the Spirit, it is on this Pentecost Sunday.
Power to reveal the depth of our national sin, and the sin of the American Church.
Power to have that sin convict us in the deepest part of our beings so we call out to God in repentance, begging for his mercy.
Power to have white Christians keep their mouths closed and their ears open more to hear the true depth of grief and sorrow in our black neighbors.
Power to stand up and take on the power structures of our nation and culture and not just long enough to take a selfie and put it on social media. It is the long haul. In 1921 on this date, the Tulsa black business district was hit hard by white supremacists. A thriving community was burned to the ground and people were lynched. This is a long haul because we have allowed this kind of behavior to continue throughout the history of our country. We need POWER to stand up and take on these strongholds and have an attitude that we won’t give up until they fall.
The Anglican Church in North America is calling for a time of mourning over the death of George Floyd. Their ethnic network is having a national prayer meeting tonight on Zoom. Our church has called for a prayer vigil tomorrow, asking people to take time slots to cover the day in prayer for the issue of racism in our nation.
We NEED the power of Pentecost.
So we pray:
Almighty God, you created us in your own image: Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and help us to use our freedom rightly in the establishment of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.