By Pastor Jeff Jacobs
Unity Lutheran Parish – St. Paul, Saetersdal and St. Matthew’s, Granger
Pentecost Sunday and Memorial Day were the same weekend this year. Pentecost celebrates the Holy Spirit’s outpouring on Jesus’ disciples and how “Jews from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5) first heard the Gospel proclamation.
People from all over the Roman Empire and beyond (Parthia, Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, Phrygia, Pamphylia and a dozen more – a lay reader’s nightmare!) all heard the good news about Christ “in the native language of each” (Acts 2:6b). Yet out of this disparate group, God formed the budding Church, drawing all those different cultures into one people.
Was it perfect? No – even in the early chapters of Acts we read about challenges and disputes troubling the Church. But God’s Spirit was, and still is at work, and the Church remains a sign of God’s grace and faithfulness, hope and love in the world.
In a similar way, on Memorial Day we commemorate those who served our country and acknowledge that these too have been a disparate group. Over the decades, people of many cultures have made the United States their home – English and Egyptian, Cherokee and Chinese, French, Filipino, Scandinavians, Slavs, Mexicans, Russians, Japanese, descendants of Mayflower pilgrims, descendants of Black slaves. And some of these have given their lives in service to this country.
Has it been perfect? Again, no, and we are painfully aware of the challenges and disputes which trouble our society. But their sacrifices for the greater good should refocus us on the principles meant to draw the many into one, as stated in those familiar Pledge words, “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
May the same Spirit which guides the Church in grace and faithfulness, hope and love likewise guide our nation in liberty and justice, peace and honor for all people.