Pentecost and the tongues of fire: the Holy Spirit
Disciples went out talking about Jesus
Everyone heard in their own language!
Jesus loves you, in multiple languages
almasih yuhabik (Arabic)
Yēsū ài nǐ (Chinese)
Jésus t’aime (French)
Jezi renmen ou (Haitian Creole)
Jesus te ama (Spanish)
It is not just in language but it is everything about you
God loves all the differences and uniqueness that make you special
God’s wants to work through your unique gifts and abilities
To bring love and joy to the world!
One Spirit with many members and gifts (Paul to the Corinthians)
Song: The Hokie Pokie
"You put your left hand in, in put your left out..."
Kind of a creepy stalker vibe with the Jesus/ Holy Spirit combo
Like always around,
watching to make sure we don’t mess up,
Of course, all with the understanding
that they are there to help!
One song I remember hearing as a kid:
By the Police
"Every breath you take, every step you make..."
Except when I was a kid it was the Puff Daddy (now P Diddy) version
Tribute to Biggie Smalls
Where the singer says
“Every step I take, every move I make, every single day, I’ll be missing you.
Thinking of the day, when you went away
What a life to take what a bond to break I’ll be missing you..."
For the disciples
To lose their leader, to lose their guide,
their teacher, their friend,
In such a way… it was
They were left pretty much rudder-less on their own
But they did spend their time in prayer Luke says
In that sense
This Easter season has been very fitting for Coronavirus
The Church after Jesus left,
sat around for what like 50 days,
praying, studying, supporting one another.
Didn't do much
Until that Holy Spirit arrived
and then it all started popping open.
Peter starts preaching like he never had before
The disciples go out all over the place
Philip and "the Ethiopian Eunuch" –
Samaria – Greece and Turkey – Rome - India even
I think we are at that place now…
We have been sitting around
And now it is time to do something
But the answer might not be to going back
to everything is normal
This is the type of wind, of fire
That is doing something new
It is going to be different!
Connected to, and related to what has happened before
In the Spirit of those events
Just like in the Acts of the Apostles
Connected to ancient stories (Tower of Babel)
Everyone head their own language this time
Bringing people together
After being separated
The disciples were sent out to new people
From all kinds of cultures as we have seen
Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ
Of God’s love and grace for all people
In their own languages even!!
That makes me excited for the day we will
All be able to be united in love
Obviously that day has not come…
Impossible not to talk about the murder of Mr. Floyd
And the ensuing outburst of anger
from communities in Minneapolis and across the country.
Though I am of course a non-violent proponent
MLK said that riots are the language of the unheard
We need to listen and understand
where this anger is coming from
I saw a good example of this from the chief of police in Atlanta Erika Shields, she came out to speak with the leaders of the protests, out in the open. She said she could not tolerate destruction of property but she wanted to listen to their concerns.
At least a good step in the direction…
This may not be something we want to hear -
But the riots in Minneapolis in many ways
should be pointing me right back to here,
to my own heart
To the continued evil that has plagued humanity
since time immemorial
That still resides right here
it pains me, destroys my soul
Author Karen Gonzalez tweeted this:
Praying and lamenting for Minneapolis today, but the lives of black people are more important than the looted Target and the burned-down police precinct. Protests and resistance are never perfect, but it's the only way change has ever been achieved. If you just want "peace" today, ask yourself if it's true peace that brings justice to our black neighbors or if it's the false peace of no conflict but no justice either.
"They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace." Jer. 6:14
As the Psalm says, all creation is imbued
with the spirit, the life-force of God
We are all connected and related –
we all get our life from God
MLK said you cannot have justice
If anyone experiences injustice
This goes for all forms of injustice there is no doubt about it
We are seeing anger and frustration built up
A symptom of something deeper
A deep injustice that has infected the soul of our country
since before its founding
What can we do?
Where is the Spirit directing us?
My personal perspective
Is that one,
we need to be grounded in God’s love for all people.
And two, we need to stay grounded
By focusing on building relationships with real people
To listen first
Listen to the stories of our neighbors
Grow to love and care for others
From different cultural and geographical backgrounds
Note at Pentecost the differences do not go away
They still have their languages
They hear in their own languages
And they are brought together
With difference of culture
What human arrogance and pride had pulled apart
In Christ is brought back together
to this message of love and redemption
Only relationships of love can be the remedy
Relationships that move us
from our comfortable complacency
to action to make a difference
As if it were my own family suffering injustice
Which, indeed it is…
That goes for Racism,
and any other way that people experience
oppression and injustice
We are seeing the signs of unrest
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' (From Acts 2)
Centered in Christ
We can forge relationships of mutual love and respect
With repentance, we can work toward
Mutual reconciliation and forgiveness
With all of God’s children
The winds are blowing
Out of the darkness, out of the despair
Together we can create something new
Something bright and powerful
Let us call to the Spirit, the Tempest, the Whirlwind
To remake us anew, in the image of Christ!
In the power of God’s love, Amen!