Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost Sermon

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in us the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy Your consolations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Holy Spirit was with each of us from our beginnings.

It all began at the first breath, that first cry, and the Spirit of God came into each of us.

Like the Genesis account that talks about God breathing into the nostrils of the first humans, Desmond Tutu reminds us that, “God is continually breathing into our nostrils.”

The Spirit that gave us life, is the same Spirit that enlivens us for what God calls each of us to do every day of our lives.

But sometimes we forget. Is God with us? How can we do what we feel called to do?

After Jesus had ascended, the disciples had gathered together but they wondered how they were to continue the ministry of Jesus in the world? To proclaim the Good News in their words & deeds?

At that 1st Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles, the Spirit came down upon the disciples, giving them the ability to speak so all could hear the Good News in their own language. Some thought the disciples drunk, but God gave the Spirit to the disciples to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth and on that day in a symphony of voices, they spoke in many languages so that all could hear the Good News of salvation had come to all people.

The Day of Pentecost is a reminder to us that God continues to give each of us the Spirit for the common good, to speak the Good News, of hope & salvation. That Spirit helps us connect to God’s story, that is, the story of our birth and our lives are connected with God’s story as we hear it in scripture. And one way we connect our stories is through the sacraments…

Today we will welcome Mark Salerno into the Body of Christ, as he is baptized at 10:15 AM. In Baptism, each of us was sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever. In Baptism, we become part of the body of Christ, for there is one Body and One Spirit, and we enter into that great story of freedom, salvation and love in the Bible.

At Confirmation yesterday, we recognized those baptismal vows and again the Spirit was prayed for and proclaimed as a force in our lives. The Spirit that is upon each of us at our baptism, is called upon again at confirmation, the Spirit of God that fills us with the fruits of the Spirit (gifts). Yesterday Nicole Remillard, Jenna Carpenter and Julia Fitzpatrick were confirmed and we were reminded of the Spirit of God that is alive in their lives, and how through the Spirit their story is connected to other Christians as we walk together.

Our God who created us and sustains us, who we call upon at baptism and confirmation, is like a glassblower making glass…
In a process that has changed little in 3 millennium, a long, narrow metal tube is dipped into a pot of sand, soda, lime and any number of metal and chemicals. Then the artisan blows carefully into the tube to create a bubble - and glass is formed. As the artisan continues to blow into the tube, the glassmaker will shape and form the bubble into the final piece: a vase, a bowl, a pane of glass. During the shaping process, the piece is frequently returned to the furnace in order to keep it soft enough to work with...

By the breath of the glassblower and the fire of the kiln, sand is transformed into glass - glass of beautiful color and transparency, glass that protects and preserves, glass that warms and illuminates.
In the story of Pentecost, the Spirit of God is experienced in images of breath and fire. Pentecost is the "breath" of God blowing through communities of faith, re-creating us and forming us into the Church of the Risen Christ. In the Pentecost story in the Acts of the Apostles we hear of "tongues" of fire resting on each of the Apostles. Such "fire" impels them to articulate what they had seen and heard and experienced in their encounter with Jesus. And so it is with us, that breath of God upon us, the fire of God within us to use those God given gifts..

On this feast of Pentecost, We gather together despite our doubts and questions, our struggles and disappointments. We come together despite the world telling us that there are better things to do today, but we gather as they did that first Pentecost to pray, to listen, to bless and break bread in his memory, to resolve to take on the next chapter of our story, a story that begin at the first Pentecost.

So what is the Spirit calling us, as a Church and as individuals, to do this Pentecost? The miracle of Pentecost is re-created every time the Church gathers; what happened to those disciples happens to us; what began with them continues with us. Once again, the Spirit speaks to us, breathes into us, as individuals and as a community, brining life, as it has & will for Mark, and Jenna, Nicole & Julia, to bring his Word to life through the fire of our lives. Amen.

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