|Pentecost 13, year A||September 7, 2014||Proper 18, Year A||Ezekiel 33:7-11, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20|
|Pentecost 11, year A||August 24, 2014||Proper 16, Year A||Matthew 16:13-20|
|Pentecost 10, year A||August 17, 2014||Proper 15, Year A||Matthew 15:10-20, 21-28|
|Pentecost 9, year A||August 10, 2014||Proper 14, Year A||Matthew 14:22-33|
|Pentecost 8, year A||August 3, 2014||Pentecost 8, year A||Matthew 14:13-21|
|Pentecost 6, year A||July 20, 2014||Proper 11, Year A||Romans 8:12-25|
|Pentecost 7, year A||July 20, 2014||Proper 12, Year A||I Kings 3:5-12, Romans 8:26-39, Matthew 13:31-33|
|Pentecost 5, year A||July 13, 2014||Proper 10, Year A||Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23, Psalm 65:9-14|
|Genevieve Davis’ Funeral Homily||July 13, 2014||Burial of the Dead, Rite II||Isaiah 35:1-10, I John 4:7-8,11-12, John 14:1-3|
|Pentecost 4, year A||July 6, 2014||Proper 9, Year A||Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30|
|Pentecost 3, year A||June 29, 2014||3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Year A||Romans 6:12-23, Matthew 10:40-42|
|Pentecost 2, year A||June 22, 2014||Second Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 7, Year A||Psalm 69:8-20, Romans 6:1b-11, Matthew 10:24-39|
|Trinity Sunday, Year A||June 15, 2014||Trinity Sunday, Year A||Genesis 1:1-2:4a, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13, Matthew 28:16-20|
|➤Pentecost, Year A||June 8, 2014||The Day of Pentecost, Year A||Acts 2:1-21, I Corinthians 12:3b-13, John 20:1-23|
|Easter 7, Ascension Sunday, year A||June 1, 2014||Seventh Sunday of Easter||Acts 1:6-14|
Pentecost, Year A
Sermon Date:June 8, 2014
Scripture: Acts 2:1-21, I Corinthians 12:3b-13, John 20:1-23
Liturgy Calendar: The Day of Pentecost, Year A
Today we celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
Of course, the Holy Spirit has been present in the story of our salvation since the beginning of creation–
This Holy Spirit is the same wind/spirit from God that blew over the waters in the beginning and contained all of God’s good creation, and still constantly renews the face of the earth.
But we human beings love clear beginnings—days we can mark and celebrate, so this day on our church calendar, this day of Pentecost, we celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit to the earliest followers of Jesus.
Scripture, in its wisdom, gives us two separate accounts of this event.
John tells us in his gospel that on the day of the resurrection, Jesus appeared in the house with the locked doors where the disciples had gathered out of fear of what might happen next.
“Peace be with you,” Jesus says.
And then, after greeting them, Jesus gives the disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit that he has been promising to them throughout his ministry –
“Receive the Holy Spirit.”
–his very breath of life, the wind that will sweep through their lives, renewing them and filling them with joy, peace and power –the breath that will send them out on missions to places that they cannot begin to imagine. Jesus tells them, “As the Father sends me, so I send you.”
Now Luke’s timing for the arrival of the Holy Spirit differs from John’s account. The early church fathers based our church calendar on Luke’s writing.
Luke tells us at the beginning of Acts that our resurrected Lord has been appearing to the disciples during the forty days after his resurrection. He has instructed them to remain in Jerusalem until God’s power comes on them from on high.
And now that day has come.
Luke tells us that “suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. And all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”
The Holy Spirit, like the rush of a violent wind, fills the disciples with fearlessness and power.
And in a great foreshadowing of the fact that they will carry the Good News of God’s love to the ends of the earth, the disciples find themselves speaking in languages of people from all over the world.
So, joy, peace, fearlessness, power, and a mission—these are the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the early church.
Paul gets even more specific about the gifts that the Corinthians have received—the list we heard read just a minute ago—and the important thing to remember here is that the Holy Spirit activates unique gifts in each one of us, and these unique gifts that manifest themselves in us are given to us by the Holy Spirit for the common good.
And not only that, but the gift of the Holy Spirit draws us together and makes us one body.
We are baptized into one body, and we are made to drink of one Spirit, the living water and breath of life that flows from God into each one of our lives.
The spirit blesses us in baptism by bringing us into this one body, the church. The Spirit blesses us through the Eucharist, giving us the bread of heaven and the cup of salvation, feeding us and making us strong and holding us together as the Body of Christ.
Sometimes, like the disciples locked in that room on Easter Day, we are so anxious and full of worry that the Holy Spirit comes as our Comforter, as intimate as a lover’s gentle kiss, giving us strength we didn’t know we had to get through a hard time. The Holy Spirit comes alongside us to accompany us and to help us get through the difficult times in our lives.
And other times, we are like the disciples waiting in that room in Jerusalem, waiting for discernment and for power to come on high so that we can carry out the mission that God has given us to do.
Gentle as a mother’s arms around us, as powerful as a violent wind, as cleansing as fire, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives when we least expect it and when we most need it. And we can give thanks to God for this gift.
So today, this day of Pentecost, is a new beginning, not only for the early church, but also for each one of us because this day is the day that we are called to imagine what can happen when the Holy Spirit suddenly comes roaring into our lives and into this church like the rush of a violent wind, or even like the very breath of Jesus, breathing peace on each one of us.
How will life change for us if suddenly our anxieties are blown away so that there’s space in our lives for God’s peace and power?
What if we can’t stop shouting out the Good News to anyone who will listen that God loves us and Jesus Christ is Lord?
What if suddenly the old things in us are being made new, and being brought to their perfection?
What if we suddenly realize that we have gifts we haven’t even known about—and the power to use them?
What if we let the Holy Spirit drive us out of our places of comfort and peace to be sent wherever God wants us to go for the common good?
As the Holy Spirit has spoken at the beginning of creation and to God’s followers throughout history, now the Holy Spirit speaks to us.
“Be filled with God’s creativity, God’s power, God’s peace, God’s joy, God’s mission.”
Now let’s pray.
“God of all power, on this new day, breathe into us the breath of Your life, and through the power of Your Holy Spirit send us out into Your world.
Give us the strength and courage of your Holy Spirit, so that filled with the Spirit, we can go where you would have us go, and love and serve you with great gladness, and singleness of heart, from this day forth and for ever more.