Today we celebrate Pentecost. Many speak of Pentecost as the birthday of the church. The date of this birth is 50 days after Easter. The date is more sign or symbol than number. It is a sign or symbol of Jubilee. (Leviticus 25)
Jubilee is the principle and policy of redistribution of wealth. It is the great reset button of the economy. As former slaves fearing the return to slavery more than anything else, the ancient Hebrews built into the structure of society a mechanism of correction. They were humble and honest enough to know that despite their best efforts every 50 years society would be unequally skewed. Therefore, they made sure that those who had much did not have too much and those who had little did not have too little. Limiting inequality extended social stability. It lowered the risk of falling into permanent debt which is the slippery slope to slavery.
Pentecost is the birth of the church because it was the beginning of a community daring to live out Jubilee. The church is birthed whenever a community dares to practice Jubilee. When it makes sure all have enough and that none are in need in society. (Acts 2:43-45) Until then we are a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
In South Africa we desperately need Pentecost. Because we desperately need Jubilee. Because we desperately need to address inequality. Because the vast majority live in desperate need.