Once a summer, our family would come home from church, put the finishing touches on a covered dish, and travel the quarter mile to attend the family reunion. When we arrived, Uncle Clair was already tending a large iron kettle of chicken corn soup that accompanied a meal of hot dogs, casseroles, deviled eggs, red beet eggs, baked all kinds of beans, various slaws, and deserts beyond counting.
Throughout the afternoon, folks would spend the afternoon catching up with each other, or put their dinner to work playing spirited games of softball, volleyball, or horseshoes. The smaller children would play in sandbox made with an old farm tractor tire, or get rides in a wagon pulled by a lawn tractor. The day ended with a cakewalk, and the younger men cranking up some homemade ice cream, which was always topped with homemade hot fudge.
Ours was a large family, so each year’s reunion introduced me to someone new to the family, a relative who lived at a distance, or an unfamiliar cousin. Different as we were, the years revealed the traits that defined our family. Like it or not, when I look in the mirror, I see how well I fit the family template.
May has a way of returning us to family. May brings not only brings us Mother’s Day, it brings us days to celebrate a child’s achievements, place flowers on graves, and honor those who gave their lives in the service of their nation. May weaves us all into a common tapestry of life that is both new and familiar. On prom night, our child meets parents who are as proud, nostalgic, and worried as us. On graduation day, students experience the loss that sometimes tinges a well-earned joy. Different as we are, the days in May teach us that we are much the same.
Pentecost was a day like that. Fifty days after Easter, the church gathered to pray, and God answered their prayer by filling them with the Holy Spirit, which sent them all out to proclaim the gospel, which everyone heard in their own language. Over the years the Holy Spirit would continue to weave God’s people, different as we are, into the body of Christ, where each member is gifted to offer the blessing of Christ’s risen life from a community so the same in Christ, there was neither Jew nor Gentile, male or female, slave or free. (1 Corinthians 12; Galatians 3:26)
Many as we are, we are one body in Christ.