Pentecost: A Household Celebration

by Beth A Richardson on June 6, 2011 · 31 comments


This Sunday, we celebrate the Day of Pentecost — when the Holy Spirit blew through the house and all the people inside began proclaiming the Word of God in their native languages.  The group of international Jews that were gathered in Jerusalem on that day could not believe this was happening because beforehand, it was not common for individuals to hear anything spoken in their mother tongues, let alone words brought by the movement of the Spirit.  What a magnificent sound that must have been!

I’m glad they didn’t chalk it up to the wine. This strangely powerful episode marks a monumental day in the life of the Household of God.    As early as the 1st century, people spoke many different languages and longed to hear the glory of God proclaimed in their native tongue.  Fast-forward 20 centuries, and we’re still longing to experience God in a way that touches our very core so that we can grow deeper in relationship with our Creator.

Praise God for being a God who does just that — lives and moves among us, allowing us to communicate love to one another in a number of beautiful languages.  The Spirit rushes in and stirs us so that everyone in the Household of God can hear God, know God’s Word, and celebrate God’s love together.

We’ve asked a few of our multi-lingual Upper Room Staff and friends to read a piece (Acts 2:1-4) from the Pentecost story.  This week, listen to the sounds of God’s word proclaimed in different languages and reflect upon the beauty and necessity of diversity in the Household of God.

When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
– Acts 2:1-4 (Common English Bible)

How does diversity enrich your faith community? Are there areas that you would hope to see more diversity? How can you work to create a more diverse environment out of your community? Join the conversation!

J K Thompson June 8, 2011 at 7:13 am

I am blessed to be included in CORR — this has allowed me to be encouraged.

Ingrid Quigley June 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

How cool is this! Thanks be to God for our interactions and opportunities to connect with “real” people from other languages and cultures.

Beth Richardson June 9, 2011 at 8:28 am

Thank you, Ingrid!

Molly June 8, 2011 at 8:50 pm

It does seem to me that the church is already a great deal more diverse than we think. Even the office of ‘Alive Now’ !
Maybe if we look around a bit more mindfully, we will see both the diversity and the enrichment God is giving us in these days. As he lives and moves among us, we don’t even need language to share his love.

Beth Richardson June 9, 2011 at 8:28 am

Blessings to you, Molly!

Joan June 12, 2011 at 7:46 am

This all points me to how expansive God’s love and good news is, to reach even to me. This amazingly big God comes to ME in ways that I can grasp and in ways that intersect with my life. And, in the same way, God reaches each individual in their own way, in their own context. God makes God present in such vastness and uniqueness.

Craig June 2, 2014 at 8:15 am

Our local church in Madison, Wisconsin is intentionally diverse. We celebrate our year round diversity, especially on one Sunday each year we have a multicultural service and potluck.

Chris Mullet Koop June 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

The practice of listening to the pentecost story in the chaos of different languages spoken simultaneously was a powerful reminder that we do not and need not all speak and hear the same. Rather, diversity is to be cherished – not as something we can create, but as a fruit or by-product of the spirit moving.

Mimi Kelley June 6, 2014 at 9:45 pm

This is a wonderful way to present the Pentecost story.

Kathy Meier June 7, 2014 at 3:52 pm

We served a church in Southern California that had people from all over the world. There were 13 different native languages represented, and more countries. A celebration of diversity every week. Our theme was “Our unity … in diversity”. Many services were planned in different languages and customs to celebrate our unity in Christ. We, the church, learned the diversity in our cultures as well as in language, but one faith in Christ and His love. It is exciting to work and learn with this type of congregation. It was a blessing to work with people of faith, who were willing to share their experiences, difference because of there home land. We are united in faith.

Marilyn June 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Thank you : )

Roger Wolsey June 7, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Excellent piece! Speaking of the glory of diversity, Pentecost is The Day the Church Came Out.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 19 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: