The bible is beautifully poetic in the alignment and symbolism of major events. A mentor of mine recently revealed to me how this poetry leaps beyond the bible’s pages into milestones in our lives today.
The First Pentecost
Fifty days after the angel of death swept through Egypt and slaughtered all first-born sons, Moses ascended Mount Sinai for the first time (Exodus 19:2-7) and received the Law laying laid out in explicit detail how the Israelites should treat each other (e.g. not killing their neighbours, not raping others’ daughters, not robbing or destroying each other’s property etc.). By outlining how His people should respect and honour each other, God gave Moses a manifesto of how much He valued human beings.
The Second Pentecost
Fifty days after Christ’s crucifixion on the day of Passover, the disciples gathered in an upper room to pray. Acts 2:1-13 describe the sound of a mighty wind and how the Holy Spirit fell upon them in tongues of fire. The Holy Spirit not only rested upon disciples, but started to dwell in them, transforming and empowering them with the spiritual fortitude to value what God values: human beings.
The Third Pentecost
On the First Pentecost, God showed how much He values human beings.
On the Second Pentecost, God enabled the disciples to value human beings.
It is no coincidence that, on this “Third” Pentecost (May 2020), the world erupted in a wave of George Floyd protests starting on Pentecost in 2020. Amidst the anger and frustration at the horrific injustice, and the systematic racism that fueled it, we were reminded of how far we have fallen short of valuing other people by our own fleeting, weak human will.
George Floyd’s murder was an 8 minutes-26 seconds long testimony of the futility of human righteousness. Decades of legislation, policies, affirmative action, anti-discrimination campaigns and government programmes failed to change or eliminate the sin of racism and prejudice. Without the grace of God, we cannot truly respect, love or value other human beings who differ from us in race, gender, class, nationality.
The heart of man is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), so the anger of man cannot bring about the righteousness of God (James 1:20). Anger at the atrocity of George Floyd’s murder is perfectly justified. But instead of solving the problem of racism, it merely highlights the need for a solution outside of ourselves.
Tongues of Fire
The church as we know it was birthed in similar conditions to the ones we face today. From the disciples huddled in a room, ‘quarantining’ themselves from a dangerous and potentially fatal pandemic of Roman military backlash to the ‘second’ Pentecost, when again, the disciples were locked away in a house praying, the Holy Spirit has no less reason, and no less power, to rest upon us with tongues of fire.
In the same way fire consumes everything in its path while providing light and warmth along the way, we, as the church, must release the fire of truth from our tongues.
Truth, when spoken boldly and unapologetically, burns up and consumes the legacy of lies left by a cacophony of “fake news” and multi-faceted political agendas cloaked cleverly in diplomatic journalism. True equality stems from understanding that all human beings are made in the image of God. True diversity is appreciating the various physical manifestations that the Imago Dei may take in each human being. When the church doesn’t raise its voice in the public square (Proverbs 1:20), it leaves room for others who are blinded by the god of this age to take matters into their own hands.
Without the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth (John 16:13), well-intentioned activists can quickly slip into endorsing all behaviours and lifestyles (including sinful ones) under the umbrella of equality and diversity. By pursuing noble ends with carnal means, they end up deceived and go about deceiving (2 Timothy 3:13).
Truth, when seasoned with grace, lights a path to Love Himself and leads lost children home to their Heavenly Father. The soul of one man in Minneapolis is more precious in God’s eyes than the whole world (Mark 8:36). His death can therefore deservedly command the attention of the whole world.
Ruthlessly kneeling on an innocent man’s neck is depraved and monstrous. Only the impartial justice of God can appropriately punish the brutal sin of murder. Only the relentless grace of God can forgive the act of murder. And only the transformative love of God can heal and renew the heart of the murderer.
No other organization or institution on the planet is positioned or equipped to share God’s truth; that is a privilege and responsibility only the believers bear. Only we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We have been chosen and called to be imitators of Christ (Ephesians 5:1) who is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life (John 4:16). My fellow Christians, the word of truth is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart (Deuteronomy 30:14). Obey it, and speak it, because the world “can’t breathe” without it.
Kacy Garvey is a Christian poet, speaker and activist. In 2011, she launched "Rahab", an outreach to prostitutes in Geneva, Switzerland. She is a USAID certified HIV Testing and Counselling Provider and has also successfully completed training in Trafficking in Persons conducted by the International Organisation on Migration (IOM). She performs original pieces of spoken word poetry to various audiences, and in 2014 and 2018, she launched “Undone” and “Water Jar”, the first and only Christian poetry albums published in Jamaica thus far. As a founding member of the Love March Movement (since 2012) and #MarriageMattersJA (since 2018), she is a regular presenter on the science, politics and biblical worldviews on sex and sexuality. She hosts the new TV series “MTM News Magazine” which can be streamed live on www.mercyandtruth.tv.