On Pentecost Sunday, the church celebrates its birth and also its newfound

diversity. Jesus of course was Jewish and he said his first mission was to the lost

sheep of Israel. But on Pentecost the Holy Spirit spills out on everyone: both

Hebrews and Greeks, on Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of

Mesopotamia. The Holy Spirit goes worldwide. The message of Jesus is for all


This new Christian church, these Christ followers were opening up to the world,

and to the people of the world. Jesus predicted this when he said, “my house shall

be a house of prayer for all people.” Indeed, the message of Christ has spread

across the globe. Christians can be found in every country, every tribe and every

nation of the earth.

In Europe in the 1940’s we witnessed the horrible “final solution” to the ideology

of race and Arian racial superiority, the dehumanization and murder of six million

Jews, and the displacement and suffering of millions more. Unfortunately in this

country, we also are still far short of being a color blind society. When our

founding leaders some 400 years ago decided that European or white skin would

rule and African or black skin would labor, a great sin was born in our land. This

sin is so deep, it led to slavery and a legal system that favored whites over and

above blacks. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution were

meant to change and correct our legal system, but it failed to protect people of

color from lynching and mass incarceration. Reforms of the civil rights

legislation of the 1960s helped, but here we are in 2020, where a black man in

Georgia jogging is seen as a threat. Ahmaud Arbery was killed while jogging

because someone who saw him as he passed by on his run and decided that

surely he must be a criminal. Just this week, George Floyd in Minneapolis, cries

for help while he suffocates under a policeman’s knee on his neck.

As Christians we must cry out for justice. Too many people have been sent to

their deaths because they were profiled of as Jews, Muslims or Africans. We

are called to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves. We are to

actively work to protect our neighbors. We cannot be silent when a person is

denied their personhood. God is the creator of all life. The church at Pentecost

welcomed people of all skin colors, all languages and all nationalities. We still

have much work to do to overcome our past sins. Redemption starts with you

and me. It starts when God convicts us of our sin. It is lived in genuine care and

concern for all of God’s people, as brothers and sisters. Together let us work

together to build an inclusive community of faith at St. Luke.

Grace and Peace to all,

Pastor Cliff