The lessons appointed for Pentecost (Genesis 11:1-9; Acts 2:1-21; John 14:8-17, 25-27) led me to focus on two points in my sermon on Pentecost. The first, suggested by my reading of The Dignity of Difference by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, was that Pentecost doesn't undo the diversity of languages and cultures that are one focus of the Genesis passage. Rather, at Pentecost, that diveristy was embraced by the Spirit as each person heard the proclamation of the Good News in his or her native tongue. The second, suggested by my reading of Douglas John Hall's Professing the Faith, was that Pentecost comes in the wake of our defeats and failures and disappointments. The gathered disciples had experienced the apparent failure of Jesus' ministry, followed by the confusing experience of Resurrection, and waited for a promise which they could only trust would be fulfilled.
I was baptized on Pentecost/Whitsunday in 1950. My baptism, and that of my two older brothers, came in the wake of the failure of our parents' marriage. The promise of Baptism, that we are Christ's own forever, was one that our mother and our Godparents could only trust would be fulfilled. It is only by faith that we receive the gift of new life in Christ. It's all Grace. I cannot judge how well I have received that gift, but then I am still on the journey and God isn't finished with me. The best is yet to come.