“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability” Acts 2:4 (NRSV).
Originally Pentecost was an agricultural festival in which the grace of God – as witnessed in the beauty and diversity of the harvest – was celebrated. The fruits of nature are full of colour, demonstrating multiform divine generosity. No two flowers are alike, yet we can distinguish between a rose and a daisy.
In the same way, when the Spirit descended upon the first harvest of disciples, the diversity was plain to see: the message of salvation had been made flesh and now was expressed in different cultures and languages. Even so, it continued to be the same united message: Jesus, God and Saviour.
Diversity and unity: both are proof of the presence of the Spirit of God. Both are necessary for the growth of the church. Both are God-given gifts. When we celebrate Pentecost, we give thanks to the Holy Spirit for these gifts that we experience within our global faith family.