SERMON TITLE: “The Power of Diversity”
SERMON TEXT: Acts 2:1-18, 22-24
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: June 14, 2020, at First UMC
Just like Christmas and Easter, the Day of Pentecost comes every year. But I’d bet that most people, maybe even most Christians, don’t really know when Pentecost is or what it’s about. That’s why every year I tell anyone who will listen to me that I think Pentecost is the most important Christian holiday. “What?!” they protest. “Surely Christmas, Good Friday, or Easter is the most important day.”
“Nope,” I reply. “What if Jesus had been born, but no one told that story? Or what if Jesus had been crucified and God raised him from the dead, but no one got the courage to proclaim that excruciating and exhilarating message? What if the disciples had remained too scared to talk? What if they had quietly gone back to fishing and tax collecting instead?”
According to the scriptures, it was the Holy Spirit coming on the Day of Pentecost that made all the difference. When the Spirit of God was poured out on the disciples with fire and wind, that’s when the Christians got started talking. And God didn’t just get them talking quietly among themselves. No. To the amazement and astonishment of both speakers and hearers, the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples to speak in the native languages of the people who had gathered in Jerusalem from all over the Mediterranean region.
We began this series of sermons on May 31, which was the actual Day of Pentecost this year. On that day, we talked about the fires of Pentecost and compared them to the fires of protest that have been burning in our American cities. Then last Sunday, as the winds were blowing all around us here in Utah, we talked about the winds of change that are causing Americans to rethink and repent of our part in racial injustice and violence against people of color. Today, I want to focus on a third aspect of the Holy Spirit of Pentecost. I want us to see, hear, and feel the power of diversity.