The Roman world was build on one guiding principle. The gods love the rich and powerful, because they can return the favours that the gods bestow on them. For the blessings of the gods that make the rich and powerful rich and powerful they repay the goods with temples, festivals, holidays and sacrifices. It’s a very practical “good-old-boys’ arrangement. And from the rich and powerful the favour of the gods slowly trickles down; from the emperor to the senators, to the knights, to the rich and eventually way down the line also to the common people.
All that changes with Pentecost. The Holy Spirit empowers Jesus’ frightened disciples to step out into the open and boldly proclaim a very different world. God’s favour is not just bestowed on the rich and powerful, but on everyone. Everyone can pray to God and God listens. And God knows everybody. In Christ Jesus there is no more rich or poor, slave or free, male or female, Jew or gentile, but all are one in Christ Jesus. God doesn’t love just a tiny elite who can repay his favour, but God loves everybody because all are part of one creation that God has declared good.
Re. Olaf Baumann, sermon, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Port Angeles Wa, 6/4/2017.
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