“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity” (Psalm 133:1, NIV, 2011).
Thus begins one of the ancient Psalms of Ascent, a little collection of songs Israel sang as she climbed up Mt. Zion during the feast days. Imagine Jewish pilgrims from all over the Mediterranean basin ascending that holy hill in the weeks following Jesus’ crucifixion, some of them having traveled from as far away as Rome, North Africa, and even Arabia, all gathered now to celebrate a kind of “Thanksgiving Day” in Jerusalem, holiest of all Jewish sites. Can’t you hear them chanting, “How good it is when people live together in unity”? Yet, great as this procession must have been, it was only the prelude to an even greater event, the Day of Pentecost itself, when God finally unleashed his Spirit on both sons and daughters, young and old (as Joel had foretold). That day, the apostles and perhaps others mysteriously proclaimed Jesus their King in languages they didn’t even know or understand for the benefit of distant travelers who did know and understand them. These are our wild and wacky roots, church! And while we experience a lot of sibling rivalry across denominational lines today, the compelling truth remains, “No Christian” (or church, for that matter) “is an only child” (Eugene Peterson). We are all part of God’s big family. So it seems there are more ways than one to “connect the unconnected,” which is why today we are praying, Lord, please help us to embrace all your beloved children as we make our way home to You!