Tongues -- not crosses -- of fire

Did you see this story on CNN today?

Cross burnings investigated in North Carolina
DURHAM, North Carolina (AP) -- Three large crosses were burned in separate spots around the city during a span of just over an hour, and yellow fliers with Ku Klux Klan sayings were found at one location, police said.

Read the whole story at http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/26/crosses.burned.ap/index.html.

Two weeks ago, we celebrated the season of Pentecost. After Easter, we move toward this celebration of the arrival of the Holy Spirit. In my home church, the confirmation kids become full members of the church. In countless churches, we move toward reaffirming our understanding of how the Spirit is present and working in our midst. On this Sunday -- and God-willing throughout the whole season -- we remember our unity as the disciples first experienced it some 2000 years ago. On this Sunday, where we understand each other in new and profound ways through the power of the Holy Spirit, we read the story as it first happended. For the lost, confused and bewildered disciples, it went like this:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

Tongues of fire. Not crosses of fire. This story reminds us that no matter how many things that we think separate us, we are still linked. We are still connected. Seemed to be tongues of fire. But, we each got a little piece of that action. It rests on each of us. We all share in this weird experience that quite frankly could take 1001 shapes today. But, no matter how we tell the tsoyr in our present context, we are still "all together in one place."

And yet, there are some that want these tongues of fire to deny the humanity of others. How by the grace of God can this be? How in the world can it be that during this season -- after the prophetic witness of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X in the civil rights movement -- that we can be burning crosses anywhere? We all play a part in this. I don't care if it happens on a church lawn or a junkyard. I don't care if it was the Klu Klux Klan or some teenagers that thought it might be funny. I care that we are not living into the season of Pentecost and cherishing each other while sharing our food, lives and love. The story is supposed to end where "All the believers were together and had everything in common." What in the world have we done wrong?

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