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    Jun 04, 2017

    Pentecost Year A (5pm and 8am only; Bishop at 10 :15am), June 3-4, 2017

    Series: Rector

    Category: Weekly Sermon


         There is power flowing through this place today. What excitement! Red is the prominent color of the day – red for the flames of the Holy Spirit. It’s a weekend for color, for the Bishop to visit, and for kites (5 of them will be flying at the 10:15 service). All of these festivities signify that today is a very important day in the life of the Church. The Feast Day of Pentecost. Pente meaning 50 – 50 days after the Resurrection. The day when Christ sends to his disciples what he had promised them. The power of the Holy Spirit. 

         It has been quite a journey for us to get to this day. We had to go through the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of Christ. With each of these 3 key events, the disciples experienced things that we may be experiencing today. And, for each one, Jesus responds with the promise of the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost.

         The first is the Passion and death of Christ. No one really wants to be there, yet in your lives, that may be exactly where you are. This is the stuff of heartache, suffering and pain. For those who are there, Jesus says, “I will not leave your comfortless. I will send you a comforter, the Holy Spirit.” 

         The second event is the resurrection. Jesus revealed his ultimate power in rising from the dead. He appears to his disciples who are joyful, but are also confused and doubtful. You may have times when you feel like this. Maybe you struggle with your faith too. Have doubts. For those who are there, Jesus sends the ultimate guide, the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” (Jn 14:16-17a).

         At His Ascension, Jesus returns to his Father in Heaven, leaving his disciples behind, alone and afraid. There may be times when you experience loneliness or fear. For you who are there, Jesus ascends to the Father so that He can send the promised One, the Holy Spirit, to you. He says, “Wait. I will send upon you what the Father promised. Stay until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:19). God sends the Holy Spirit, bringing power, comfort, truth…. and nothing is the same ever again.

         Last week I was sitting in a public space. It was quiet. Off in the distance, I heard the voice of a very young child coming down the Hall. She was singing. No words, just singing her own melody. She rounded the corner and came into vie, her mother pushing her in a stroller. The child brought life into the room. She introduced joy, singing, something new being brought into that space.

         For those of you who are cooks, you know that one ingredient can change the entire recipe. Or if you’re mixing paint and you add some yellow, it changes the whole color. Each of us has that same kind of potential. We, like the child, bring something with us. One ingredient that has the power to change everything.

        From the moment of your Baptism, you have the power of the Holy Spirit in you. Today, Pentecost, is a reactivation of that Spirit; of that power. When those few disciples received the Holy Spirit on that first Pentecost day, they were empowered to change the world. The Church was born…. which is why we call the Feast Day of Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church. The church was not ever just a building. It is God’s presence in the world to do the work of Jesus. The disciples started doing Jesus’ work; and now that torch has been passed to us. You are the ingredient that can make a difference today in the world around you. God empowers you through the gift of the Holy Spirit – meets you where you are today, whether you need comfort, power, joy or peace. It is provided.

         In addition, with the Holy Spirit come gifts. These are talents or abilities given to each of us to be used in God’s service. These are very diverse gifts that God provides to build up his community. They are not given to you for you, but for the greater good – so you can better serve the needy, the lonely, the suffering and the outcast. Part of our faith journey is to discover what our own gifts and talents are. That’s often by trial and error. And then to pay attention to how we are using them. To be careful that we are serving God and not ourselves. No one is off the hook saying I’m too old or too young or I’ve done my part or whatever the excuse is. All have been given gifts; and God expects us to use them to His glory every day of our life.
         This Pentecost the Holy Spirit living within you is revived and you are further empowered for ministry. So answer God’s call; discover your gifts and use them; get involved; do your part; and expect to see the power of God working not only through your life, but in building up and strengthening God’s church. Happy Pentecost Christ Church.