By Jim Perkinson, a homily for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Detroit, MI (May 28, 2023)
So, Pentecost! We will begin deep in the weeds. Literally. “Pente-cost”—in Greek, the 50th day! But 50th day after what? After Passover. But why 50? Well, 49 + 1. Huh? We scratch our heads. But of course, the early Christians, though working in the language of the Greeks—pentekoste—are translating practice and memory of the Hebrews. So hard this biblical faithfulness business—plunges us straight into serious cross-cultural labors and mistakes. Such a big history of mistakes! More on that later. But the Hebrews! They didn’t call it Pentecost, but Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks. 7 weeks after Passover, but with the counting starting on the 2nd day of Passover—so 49 + 1.
Ok—but then, what anchors Passover, when does it begin? Ah, now we’re getting down to it, yes, getting down, “gettin’ down,” heavy on the down beat! But what is down? What direction? There—pointing to your feet? Yes, but what is down there? A tile floor, you say? And under that? Wood floor joists? And under that? Pipes? Yes, yes, and a basement and then cement. And, and . . . But finally, even in the city, we get to it. Earth. What all of life stands on and grows in. The big assumption. The Big Momma we take for granted again and again!Continue reading ““As a Mighty Wind”: Or, Which Pentecost?”