Reflection for Pentecost

Pentecost then is as much a call for us to take up God’s justice as our own cause as it is anything else. The Holy spirit is working, has always worked to give life, real meaningful life for every person.

Readings:  Acts 2:1-21  1 Corinthians 12:3b-13   John 7:37-39   Psalm 104:25-35, 37


Sermon Text


Today is the Feast of Pentecost, when we recall the Holy spirit coming to dwell on the followers of Jesus, driving them out into the open to proclaim the Good News.


I think the key takeaways from this story, are one, the obvious one that the disciples in the street were “on fire” with their love of Jesus and the potential of Jesus’ vision for human life.


But as important for us, who as Episcopalians, aren’t exactly known for our “fiery” faith is the indwelling of the Holy spirit and the proclamation of the Good News.


Now, in church history, the Holy Spirit has received considerably less attention from theologians and other thinkers than say the nature of Jesus, the work of the sacraments, or the Trinity. The original version said of the Holy Spirit – “we believe in the Holy spirit.”  Full stop.


We’ve expanded upon that some, to also affirm that the Holy Spirit is the giver of life, that she proceeds from the Father, that the Holy spirit is equally God with the Father and Son and worthy of worship, and that she has spoken through the prophets.


Ahh, the prophets. They sometimes have a reputation of being a little gloomy and dour, but that’s only because they were so frustrated with the obstinance and self-serving actions of the society around them. I can relate, probably you can too.


But the cry of the prophets was always consistent; that the role of God’s people was to be the template for all humanity, that they should be a people focused on caring for one another, that they should live in peace with one another, that they should rely on God and seek to align themselves to God’s will that they might prosper and thrive.


When Amos said that justice should roll down like waters; he was using the imagery of flood to talk about how God’s will would be enacted if the leaders couldn’t get their act together. Surveying the repeated travails of ancient Israel, it is easy to see they were right.


Turning away from God’s vision, despite what every demagogue ever has said, does not lead to human thriving but to an apocalypse; a sharp rupture that leaves us wiser, but shorn from everything we thought was bedrock.


When John’s disciples came to Jesus and asked him if he really was the messiah or not; his answer to them wasn’t a well reasoned argument, it was an invitation to see with their own eyes what was happening.


Look, he said, the lame walk, the blinded have their sight restored, the dead are raised, the sick are healed and the poor have the good news preached to them.


In other words, the promises of the prophets are being made manifest. The promises of God’s justice are being made real.


And what Jesus is essentially saying is to them is “ you can get on board with God’s justice that lifts up all, or you can be swept aside as it rolls down the mountain.


Pentecost then is as much a call for us to take up God’s justice as our own cause as it is anything else. The Holy spirit is working, has always worked to give life, real meaningful life for every person. Not just breath and a heartbeat but a life of purpose, meaning, and contentment.


We are called to join together with one another but also with the Spirit that dwells in each of us by virtue of our baptism to sing the choir of justice, to ride God’s might flood toward the promised kingdom; so come aboard.


Thanks be to God


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