Pentecost and Anti-Racism Response Resources
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them ability.” Act 2:4 NRSV
In the throes of a pandemic, protests, and pandemonium, we can be thrust into silence and solitude. I am convinced that solitude is a needed spiritual discipline in times such as these. The past three weeks have been particularly difficult and distressing for our nation and for our African American siblings. In addition to the disproportionate death rate from COVID-19 in African American and Latinx communities, two more African American men were killed by white law enforcement officers. Major cities in our nation, including Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago are smoldering from flames of combustible rage and despair resulting from the death of George Floyd. Mr. Floyd died when a Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes inhibiting his ability to breathe.
See the resource list.here.
Protests turned fiery and businesses have been breached through broken entry points and theft – looting has occurred. Yet, looting cannot be the legacy of this season. As a Pro-Reconciling and Anti-Racist Church, we must keep a meta-view of this moment. This is not about bad actors who burn buildings and steal merchandise. The depth and longevity of individual and collective despair have many expressions. Four hundred plus years of actual and symbolic knees pressed onto the necks of people of African descent in this nation have festered into blisters that burst and ooze with rage, resolve, and repression of the human spirit.
All of this as we enter into the season of Pentecost. As the Spirit rushes upon the Church like a mighty wind, we are propelled toward a shift. This shift requires that we, like the disciples on that Pentecost Day in biblical antiquity, receive the Holy Spirit. It is requiring that we trust the Spirit to use our different tongues and languages as we employ our skills, gifts, passions, and talents to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. We will not all protest in a local town square, but I pray some of you will. We will not all form prayer circles and pray for the Spirit to accompany our culture shift to dismantle racism, but I hope many of you will. Many, if not all of us, can vote, join a movement in our local community, learn how to be an ally, and educate ourselves in anti-racism.
I have attached, above, a document with a few resources that have emerged over time from Disciples pastors, scholars, and ecumenical partners. It is my hope they will help you to embrace the rushing wind of the Pentecost season in order to affirm the image of God in every human body and spirit. It is also my prayer that we, “filled with the Holy Spirit, will begin to speak in different languages (by utilizing our differing gifts) as the Spirit gives ability” to be the reconciled body of Christ from this day forward. While silence and solitude are virtuous disciplines, I pray we are reminded that we are never alone. I also pray that Disciples emerge at this moment committed to join the movement of the Holy Spirit to change our culture of racism this Pentecost season.
Rev. April Johnson
Minister of Reconciliation