Today is Pentecost, the day Christians around the world celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the believers gathered in Jerusalem after Jesus' ascension. Acts 2:2-3 describes it: "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."
Today as we view images of anti-racist protest and harsh police pushback all over the United States, I think about that violent wind and those tongues of fire. An old slave spiritual called Mary Don't You Weep includes the words "God gave Noah the rainbow sign: no more water, but fire next time." (Black American writer/activist James Baldwin took his book title The Fire Next Time from this lyric).
I imagine this fire as the Holy Spirit. We often think of the Spirit somewhat tamely, as our personal comforter and guide -- but the Spirit is also the Advocate for the oppressed, the Truth that comes from the Father, the One who Testifies (John 15:26). Perhaps today God is sending the fire of the Holy Spirit to stand up for the oppressed, to reveal the devastating truth about racism, to testify that God is not pleased when his image-bearers are crushed by generations of violence and hate.
God, may Your Spirit's fire come to rest on us this time, moving us to repent and empowering us to act for justice. We want to be on the side of whatever You are doing in this world.