|Lent 3, Year A at the Cathedral||March 15, 2020||Third Sunday in Lent, Year A||John 4:5-42|
|Lent 2, Year A – March 8, 2020 – the Rev. Deacon Carey Connors||March 8, 2020||Lent 2, Year A||John 3:1-17|
|Lent 1, Year A||March 1, 2020||First Sunday in Lent, Year A||Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7; Matthew 4:1-11|
|Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020||February 25, 2020||Ash Wednesday, Year A||Joel 2:1-2, 12-17|
|Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||February 23, 2020||Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||Matthew 17:1-9|
|Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||February 16, 2020||Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, Year A||Sirach 15:15-20; I Corinthians 3:1-9, I Corinthians 13: 11-12; Matthew 5:21-37; Psalm 119:1-8|
|Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||February 9, 2020||Epiphany 5, Year A||Isaiah 58:1-9a, [9b-12];Matthew 5:13-20|
|The Presentation||February 2, 2020||Presentation of Jesus in the Temple||Luke 2:22-40|
|Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||January 26, 2020||Third Sunday after the Epiphany||Matthew 4: 12-23, 1 Corinthians 1:10-18|
|Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Congregational Meeting||January 19, 2020||Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A, Congregational Meeting||Isaiah 49:1-7; John 1:29-42|
|First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||January 12, 2020||First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A||Matthew 3:13-17|
|Epiphany, Year A||January 6, 2020||The Epiphany, Year A||Matthew 2:1-12|
|Christmas 2, Year A||January 5, 2020||Christmas II, Year A||Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23; Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a; Psalm 84|
|Christmas Eve, Year A||December 24, 2019||The Eve of the Nativity||Luke 2:14|
|Advent 3, Year A||December 15, 2019||Advent 3, Year A||Isaiah 35:1-10|
Pentecost, Year C
Sermon Date:June 9, 2019
Scripture: Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17, 25-27
Liturgy Calendar: The Day of Pentecost, Year C
On the church calendar, Pentecost marks the day that the Holy Spirit came from God to the disciples, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, the good news about Jesus Christ began to spread like wildfire over the earth.
The power of the Holy Spirit in them took away the disciples’ fear and gave them the power to work together and to go out and spread the Good News even in the face of danger and death. Nothing would ever be the same for them again.
AND, the power of the Holy Spirit did not disappear or die when the disciples’ lives ended. The Holy Spirit is eternally active.
The Holy Spirit is constantly present throughout time, bringing renewal and new life.
God gives the power of the Holy Spirit to every disciple in every age, and that includes us.
Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as the Advocate, who will be with us forever, who abides in us always. The Holy Spirit rids us of our fear and gives us the power to spread the Good News about Jesus throughout the earth.
So I challenge us today to claim the power of the Holy Spirit that has been granted to us through God’s amazing grace.
Here are some reminders about claiming the power of the Holy Spirit that I hope will inspire you to come up with even more ideas that we can all use to become an even stronger and even more Spirit filled church than we already are, so that we can fully participate with Christians around the world in the spreading of the Good News.
In today’s reading from Acts, “all of the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”
The Holy Spirit has blessed this congregation with people who have all sorts of abilities. Here’s the first thing we can do to claim the power of the Holy Spirit at St Peter’s. Let’s help each other discern the gifts of the Spirit that each of us has received, and then to honor those gifts in one another, and to cheer each other on.
There’s a person in this church who has taken on the project of anonymously giving small gifts to people as a way of thanking them for the ways in which the Holy Spirit manifests itself in that person. The people who receive these gifts are buoyed up and encouraged in what they do, because they realize that the use of their Holy Spirit gifts has had an impact on someone’s life, that someone has noticed. As Andrea likes to say, “We are a team!” So let’s cheer one another on, celebrating the Good News of the gospel that we see taking place through one another and our unique gifts, right here at St Peter’s.
Which leads me to the next thing we can do for one another to become even stronger and give the Spirit room to grow, and that is to love one another as Jesus has loved each one of us. Before Jesus promised the disciples that he would ask the Father to send the Advocate to be with them forever, he said to them, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
The disciples have just heard Jesus say to them. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This is not just let’s be nice to each other love—this down deep, sacrificial love gives us the power to reach beyond the usual limits of our love in order to love the other as we would imagine God loving that person.
This example doesn’t come from our congregation, but it’s a powerful example of what I mean about sacrificial love. In this past week’s series of videos on the Thy Kingdom Come website, https://www.thykingdomcome.global/resources/day-4-sorry-ray-and-vi-donovan-reflect-how-god-called-them-forgive-man-who-murdered-their Ray and Vi Donovan talk about their son Chris, who when out for with a walk with his brother, was randomly murdered by a fifteen year old in a group of teenagers high on drugs.
Ray said to Vi after they left the hospital and got in their car, “You know what, as Christians we are going to have to forgive those boys who did this.” Vi said, “No, don’t talk to me about that.”
Time passed, and Ray and Vi decided to meet the murderer when he got out of prison. When this young man, now twenty-six, who had killed their son got out of jail, Ray and Vi went to meet him. Ray said, “I looked at him…..and I could see respect, and I just opened my arms and said, “Come here,” and he came and gave me a hug and whispered “Thank you.” And then he looked at Vi, and hesitating, said, “May I?” and Vi said, thinking to herself that he still looked like a little boy, “Come on then,” and they embraced, and she said to this young man, “Hey, young man,” and he says, “What?” and then Vi says to him, “We forgive you. Move on and have the future, have the life that Chris can’t have.”
Vi says that she has learned to put down the glass of the poison of anger and unforgiveness that she kept drinking before she could forgive, and she says that she still gets angry and takes that glass up again, and she will have to remember to put it down for the rest of her life. Vi says that “we can’t go back and change the past, but we can change the future, can’t we? We can get better.” Yes, we can get better and continually grow stronger through loving one another as Jesus has loved us.
Here’s a third thing we can do to become an even stronger and more Spirit filled church. Jesus said to the disciples that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, will teach you everything, and remind me of all that I have said to you.” We can actively pray for the Holy Spirit to teach us. We can intentionally ask the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth. When we ask, we remember that Jesus has told us, the disciples, that the Holy Spirit will guide us.
How easy it is to forget that the Holy Spirit is our guide, and when we forget, we wander off the path that God has laid out for us. We can get off the right path both as individuals, and as the church. The wonder is that the Holy Spirit will get us back on the right path—all we have to do is to ask for and then to accept the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So how do we know that we are on the right path? At the end of today’s gospel, after he says that the Holy Spirit will teach them everything, Jesus says to the disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”
Peace is a sure sign that the Holy Spirit at work in our own hearts and in our church. This is the peace that comes from rejoicing in and honoring the unique and wonderful gifts that God has given our brothers and sisters; this is the peace that comes from loving one another as Jesus has loved each one of us, and this is the peace of knowing that the Holy Spirit is guiding us as we journey through this life, and that we have the privilege to follow faithfully.
So do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
On this day of Pentecost, in the year of our Lord 2019, The Holy Spirit is here with us, and will always be with us, and all will be well, and we, too, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will continue to spread the Good News of Jesus far and wide. Amen.