HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
The People of the World on a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.—Acts 2:1
Let us reflect deeply during Pentecost 2020 on the meaning of being a people of the World on a pilgrimage of justice and peace as recorded in the Book of Acts 2:1-47.
When the day of Pentecost came, the followers of Jesus were all in one place and of one accord. They, meaning the apostles with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers, devoted themselves with a singular purpose to prayer. They were of one mind in anticipation. There was a oneness, an association, of fellowship, minds, and place. All were awaiting the fulfilment of the words of Jesus, who had spoken to them about the coming of the Holy Spirit. The word Pentecost is a Greek word signifying the fiftieth part of a thing, or the fiftieth in order. Among the Jews, it was applied to one of their three great feasts, which began on the fiftieth day after Passover. Of all the feasts of the Jewish year, it was the one that attracted the largest number of pilgrims from distant lands and many nations. Therefore many foreign pilgrims were assembled in Jerusalem for the festival. Many different ethnicity, languages, different skin colour and size of people for the celebration.
This year around the world the people will be gathering in the streets for a different occasion and one purpose in mind and that is to fight Racism, Injustice, Inequality and calling for a change in the status quo. The world witnessed the killing of a Black man in the street of Minneapolis as a white police officer had the man handcuffed lying on the ground while that officer placed his knee in his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds until the life left his body. That death has sparked an outraged around the world calling for change not only in America but in every corner of the globe. So, this year Pentecost will have a different form of celebration.
It is unfortunate that the churches are not coming together in an open space for a similar purpose to celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit where the languages of the world will be evidently extracting the languages of Heaven and men and women filled with the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah
On the day of Pentecost, the promised gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on them—not on the apostles only, but on all the 120 men and women. Then Peter stood up with them, raised his voice and addressed those who are Jews, that is, Jews by birth, as well as all others besides native-born Jews, whether proselytes or strangers, who were abiding at Jerusalem. (I know that there were immigrants there from Mexico, The Caribbean, Muslim, from Slovenia, Yemen, Africa, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia Israel and Turkey were all included). In the early days of the church, the believers in our Lord Jesus Christ were known as people of “the Way” (Acts 9:2). The term seems to have been used as a synonym for the disciples of Jesus (five times in Acts: 19:9; 19:23; 22:4; 24:14; 24:22). And it refers to the way, as being the only one. Jesus is the “way,” as well as the “truth” and the “life” (John 14:6). The followers of Jesus were people on a pilgrimage. For them, pilgrimage included, among other things, being a witness of the Risen One. And so, today June 7, 2020, America and the people around the world are on a mission for a different cause. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH the people are crying and calling for the same Holy Spirit that fell on the day of Pentecost fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord to intervene of their behalf to change lives, laws, authority and proclaim that there is one race on the face of the earth and that is the Human Race.
The word pilgrimage is derived from the Latin word peregrinus, meaning foreigner, and peregri, meaning abroad, referring to a traveller in foreign lands. St Augustine describes a Christian spiritual journey as a kind of estrangement and exile. The followers of our Lord were persecuted for his namesake. The way is a common expression in Acts for the Christian religion. It is a metaphor for life and conduct. The way of God and the way of life are seen as the only right and true way. The first time the term Christian (which literally means “Christ Ones”) was used in describing followers of Jesus was in Antioch, Syria (Acts 11:26: “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch”). The way refers to their lifestyle, that is, the way of life they assumed. The Christians adopted a special way or mode of life, building on Christ, in whom they had found the way, the truth, the life. Their lifestyle identified them as being followers of Jesus Christ. Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life, and it encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle. This is what Pentecost is all about. It is about embracing a new life in Christ. In Christ, the Risen One, a society was founded, not on the law of self-interest and competition but on compassionate justice and self-denial. The distinguishing point by which they were known from others was their conviction that Jesus was the Messiah.
They were together – in one accord, sharing the same vision and mission in the church (praising, praying, sharing the Word of God) and community (sharing their property or possessions, Acts 2:44 f.). For them having all things in common referred not only to their belief in Jesus as the Son of God but also that their conduct should be in harmony with their confession, namely that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
To be on a pilgrimage entails deep reflection about our personal conviction that Jesus is the Lord as well as our moral obligation to heed the numerous issues of socio-economic justice around us. Part of the church’s mission and humanity’s responsibility is to protect God’s creation for future generations. That is what these protests are far today and over the last ten days. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I kept silent for too long and it is the right time to join with our brethren regardless of the side of the fence you are on. These protests are to tear down the walls and barriers between “the haves and the have not”. It was Ronald Ragan who led the fight to tear down the great wall of Berlin, and the people are leading the fight to TEAR DOWN THE MIDDLE WALL OF RACISM, INJUSTICE AND INEQUALITY.
We as people of the way should stand where God is standing, even if it costs us our lives. Today religious persecution is taking place across the globe. With profound sadness, we recall many who lost their lives to persecution. But we are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. This is our conviction. Christianity provides us with a way, a path to engage in church and society—to embody the way. The gift of the Spirit shows its power, not only in tongues and prophecy but also in our lives and conduct. Following his way, may we live in anticipation of the coming of the eternal reign of God. Some will die, some will lay down their lives, but when Black People come together around the world change will come and I believe that the timing is right on this day of significance “Pentecost Sunday”.