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Pentecost’s message for today: Unity and hope in a turbulent world


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Pentecost’s message for today: Unity and hope in a turbulent world

Commentary by Susie Leonard Weller | FāVS News

While Easter holds immense significance for Christians, I find Pentecost (50 days after Easter) an even more profound celebration. It marks a pivotal moment in the journey of Jesus’ disciples, from fear to courage and acceptance. After Jesus’ resurrection, his followers experienced a whirlwind of emotions. Overjoyed at the times when Jesus appeared to them, later they found themselves cowering in fear in an upper room, worried about their safety. Pentecost is a testament to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit’s ability to unite diverse peoples in love.   

In the Christian Bible, Acts 2 describes Jesus’ followers as experiencing a sound like a violent wind and seeing tongues of fire that rested upon them. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in other “tongues” or languages. Jews gathered in Jerusalem from many nations to celebrate the feast of Shavuot. They felt bewildered to hear these Galileans speaking to them in their native language. 

Peter addressed the crowd of Jews to explain that Jesus’ disciples were not drunk but filled with the Holy Spirit. Three thousand people accepted their message and chose to be baptized. Non-believers were impressed by the many wonders and signs performed by Jesus’ disciples — especially their willingness to hold everything in common, sell their property. and give to those in need.

Pentecost’s significance for today

You might wonder: Why is Pentecost so relevant for today?

We are living in turbulent times — politically, ecologically, socially and spiritually. But amid this chaos, Pentecost offers us a beacon of hope. It reminds us that we can overcome our differences and work together for the greater good. It’s a call to unity, a reminder of our shared humanity that transcends all divisions.

Pentecost inspires me to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that I can speak in ways others can hear. It reminds me that effective communication is not about imposing my views on others but being willing to understand and respect their perspectives. It’s a call to find ways to bridge the gaps dividing us and to build a more harmonious society — locally and internationally.

Early Christians made a monumental shift to welcome non-Jews into their circle. Many of the conflicts between Peter and Paul described in the Epistles focused on discerning the requirements for becoming a Christian. Did non-Jewish believers have to maintain Jewish customs to become Christians? Thankfully, Paul’s global perspective to welcome Gentiles prevailed, and Christianity spread quickly throughout the Roman Empire and beyond.

In our current era, Christians face new challenges. Are we willing to expand our belief system to welcome dialogue with people from diverse faiths, including non-believers? Do we trust they are also accepted and loved by the Holy Spirit? Although raised in a strict Roman Catholic family, in high school, I became active in Campus Crusade for Christ and became an evangelical Christian. My adult spiritual journey has challenged me to become more comfortable in welcoming interfaith dialogue and including non-believers in the conversation. 

Moving from Jacob’s Ladder to Sarah’s Dancing Circle

As a young adult, I dreamed of a tall, electrical tower similar to Jacob’s Ladder. I began questioning the value of specific metal bars holding up the structure. I realized the entire building would become dismantled if I kept pulling on some of the bars. However, I chose to pursue my questions, and the whole tower collapsed. I felt surprised to notice that the new structure formed a humming circle that continually expanded. It allowed and even welcomed new ideas and people to join it.  I realized my new spiritual journey strengthened my capacity to be transformed by a love that unites rather than fear.

This Pentecost, may we honor Sarah’s Dancing Circle and welcome the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, known by many names, to unite our divided world.

The views expressed in this opinion column are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of FāVS News. FāVS News values diverse perspectives and thoughtful analysis on matters of faith and spirituality.

Susie Weller
Susie Wellerhttps://www.susieweller.com/
Susie Leonard Weller holds a master's degree in pastoral ministry and works as a certified life and spiritual coach. Learn more about her at website.

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Walter A Hesford
Walter A Hesford
12 days ago

Thank you for this wonderful commentary on the current relevance of Pentacost, which builds on a traditional Jewish holy day as it extends the spirit of a loving God to the world.

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