Our annual celebration of Pentecost marks an important moment in the church: the pouring out of God’s loving, justice-hungering, reconciling Spirit on all the church. This outpouring empowers us as followers of Jesus to participate in what the Spirit was already doing in the world around us.
God’s Spirit announces good news to the poor, the captives, the blind, the oppressed and proclaims the year of the Lord’s favor, or Jubilee, when all debts were cancelled and all consolidated properties were returned to their original owners. It announces forgiveness for us when we acknowledge our sinfulness and place our faith in God’s way of life revealed through the prophets and Jesus. It proclaims healing for the broken, joy for the sorrowful, and hope for the despairing.
This forgiveness opens the door to the ministry of reconciliation to which are called. This forgiveness and reconciliation takes the place of revenge. However, it does not pretend that no wrong has been or is being done, asking those who suffer to live in harmony with those who cause their suffering or support systemic structures that cause their suffering. Reconciliation and forgiveness occur among neighbors when the Spirit empowers us to acknowledge the wrongs done, make them right, and make sure they happen no more. It results in a complete reordering of our personal lives toward all of our neighbors and a reordering of social structure so people suffer no more. It is the Spirit-empowered transformation of the world for which we in the United Methodist Church seek to make disciples. It is this Spirit-filled work that takes people who are in relationships of Us-Them, I-Other, Oppressor-Oppressed, Abuser-Abused, and transforms their lives so they see each other as equals and learn to love, leading to peace with justice.
We have assurance of this hope proclaimed to us by God’s Spirit and through us by God’s Spirit due the resurrection of the Christ attested to us by God through deeds of power, wonders, and sign by the Spirit as the Christ walked the earth as a human among us. Christ Jesus of Nazareth was killed but his resurrection revealed that God’s hope will not be overcome. So we now join in this work, empowered by the Spirit, with the full assurance that God’s love, justice, and peace will not be overcome.
Grace and peace,
Rev. J.D. Allen