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A reflection on Pentecost: unity in diversity

Light for the Way seriesWe invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.

Optage Hospice Chaplain Louise Britts, who is also pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, reflects on Pentecost, which the Church celebrates this coming Sunday. Pentecost is regarded as the birthday of the Christian church, and the start of the church's mission to the world.
My daughter and her husband were married just before Pentecost. They chose diversity as the theme of their celebration. They picked the traditional Pentecost reading from Acts 2 as one of their scripture readings. Petronilla, my daughter, was adopted from Zimbabwe. Her husband is a U.S. citizen whose parents are from Ethiopia. Their entire wedding became a nod to the diversity of their union and the diverse cultures that make up their friendship circle.  
In Acts 2, the disciples are huddled in the upper room. First, there is wind and fire. Then the disciples speak about Jesus, and the author Luke writes, "When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: 'Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?'" (vv. 6-8, NIV)

Pentecost then becomes an affirmation of God’s gift of diversity. Luke makes a point of listing all the places that the people had come from to be in Jerusalem. There were many different people from many different places speaking many different languages. Pentecost is a celebration of unity in diversity.  

Pentecost then is not so much the birth of the church, but a snapshot of the church in action through the power of the Holy Spirit: where diversity is chosen over division, where dialogue is chosen over conflict, and where all are cared for, not just the people of our tribe or clan. Pentecost screams the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ: all are invited and all are welcome here.

Optage Hospice Chaplain Louise BrittsThe Rev. Louise Britts serves as chaplain with Optage Hospice. She is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and served many years as pastor to Minneapolis congregations. She continues her parish ministry as pastor emerita of Messiah Lutheran Church in South Minneapolis.

 Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.

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In addition to Light for the Way, you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care website

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