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Fire

May 29, 2020

“And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.” Acts 2:2-3

We don’t often turn on the news in the morning. Today, however, we sat with our cups of coffee and we watched Minneapolis burn.

I don’t really know what to say, but I’ll start with this:

I am outraged by the killing of George Floyd. Full stop.

While the destruction that has unfolded over the last few days will not solve anything, I understand the rage that fuels the fires. I pray for the violence to stop, but I also want to listen to the voices that have been ignored for too long, voices that protest against racism and injustice.

I pray for the violence to stop, but this cannot mean a return to what was before. Peace, true peace, is not simply the absence of conflict. Peace is the space for people to live together in true freedom and equality. Peace is the presence of truth, a force for good in the world. Peace is the presence of the God who lives in our midst.

This Sunday is Pentecost. On the fiftieth day of Easter, the promised Holy Spirit burst forth violently into the world, rushing like wind and burning like fire. But this fiery wind is a force of creation, not destruction. When the Spirit came, the apostles were given words so that all people could hear. Barriers were broken down as God’s presence came upon all flesh. Jew and Greek. Black and white. And everyone else, too.

As people filled with the Spirit, we must claim our voices and speak out for both peace and justice. I don’t know what to say but I dare not stay silent. George Floyd should not have been killed by those police officers. It should never happen again.

I am outraged. But I am not hopeless. The Spirit is here. Come, Holy Spirit!

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of life, your Spirit was poured out to connect all people to the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Give us Spirit-words to proclaim life. Make our hands work for a true peace that works for all people. Be with us in these troubled times. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Icon of Pentecost, Russian, eighteenth century (public domain).

From → COVID-19

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