Grace and Peace to you as we people of faith, open up of ourselves, to the power of the Holy Spirit in this place, given to us by God our Creator and from our risen Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen
I want to share with you a story
(Stepping away from the pulpit, telling the story about when Israel my daughter was between schools, and how the education system in Chicago is less than desirable; how there was a town hall meeting about her future high school, and who the powers behind the screen were displacing the children in this current elementary school to make way for this new middle/high school, only because of the political/economic prominence of the parents of this other elementary school; How voices from both sides were being heard, and how they asked for any others who wanted to weigh on the issue. How my daughter said “Mom, you should say something” and how I did begin this carefully crafted speech but for 5 seconds I can not remember what I say but when I was present in the room once more, I had riled up the crowd to their feet, charged with calling the one corporate entity on the carpet).
The only thing I can truly say with affirmation
Is that the Holy Spirit had to be involved.
Is that strange?
Peter states in Acts that the Creator God declares
“that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,”
Causing prophetic testimony
Isn’t that the same when we as people of faith
Disturbed in our spirit, perhaps by the presence of the
Proclaim with one voice
Against things that would burn the bridges of being bonded
From the presence of God
Outside our church doors
Beyond the church walls.
Isn’t that why we find ourselves
Standing with signs
Standing with others
Standing in front of those who impact our laws
Who impact how we live and love
On fire for some semblance of peace and serenity
In this world?
The Holy Spirit sets our souls on fire!
Our good friend Luther even experiences this
The Holy Spirit turning his world upside down
Sending him out
Vigorously, shamelessly sharing
That the Gospel was more life affirming
Than condemning his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ
Yet Luther’s view was that the Holy Spirit had its proper place
Deep in his theological corpus, the Holy Spirit is clothed within the preached Word
And the Sacraments
The Holy Spirit fulfills the Law
Luther said this of the Holy Spirit “as God in God’s divine nature and essence from the Holy Spirit as God has given to us.”
The Holy Spirit is a sacred gift that we find among the community of believers
And it is because of the Holy Spirit
We, as children of God find ourselves not able to contain our joy
When enflamed by the power of the Holy Spirit
We are moved to shout and share
What the Good News of Jesus Christ means for all of us.
The Holy Spirit invades our spaces
Meeting us along the journey, barefoot
Raising Her Voice to infuse and empower us
Wherever we are called to go.
Pentecost fills our imaginations
“And suddenly there came a sound
Like the rush of a violent wind,”
As if it was this massive
As if the Holy Spirit physically filled the room
Think of it as immense
As immense as a familiar dragon named Smaug
And the cacophony chaos that followed, of sounds
And instead of a suffocating heat
That bends and wilts us to nothingness
The Holy Spirit descending as a phoenix
Blessing those gathered
In our Acts text this morning
With sacredness of restorative and reviving power
Their collective breath in that place must have been stifled
Exhaling a surprising joy like no other
It had to be like (pause, tap tambourine and sing) fire
Shut up in their bones..
Won’t leave them alone
This gospel song from my childhood sums up
How the Spirit gripped each and every person present
To where the Spirit wouldn’t let any of them sit down
And what was said in that moment?
Did they hear the risen Christ echoing in each other’s tongue saying “Receive the Holy Spirit”
Or perhaps they echoed words that reside and are repeated
in the Psalms:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul!
“Praise the Lord”
(pause, pick up tambourine and tap lightly, singing)
“I’m gonna sing to the Al – mighty power comes around
Spirits got me so I can’t sit down.”
What Liberation in those words!
These brothers and sisters in Faith
Who followed the risen Christ
Who struggled with who Jesus Christ was and is
Who were witnesses to what Christ had done
Who had been touched by what Christ spoke
Were liberated in that moment
To become Transformative Witnesses
Having the strength and the freedom
To spread the Good News of Jesus Christ
Throughout the World.
Sadly there are too many moments
When brothers and sisters in Christ
Not only do not see the reflection of our Savior
In one another
But also cannot hear the Good News proclaimed richly
In so many transformative ways
And so sometimes we as people of faith are fearful
Fearful when the Holy Spirit makes Her presence
Because that means She comes to disturb our sedentary nature
Shaking us awake to what the Creator God has called us to do
Awakening the fire
Shut up in our bones
And that is the Good News
That is what Peter shared with those ancient people in that moment
“In those days, I will pour out my Spirit and they shall prophesy.”
Why are we as people of faith to acknowledge
That this is what we are called to do
As people of Faith?
How blessed we are that God, Our Creator
Continues to connect with us
Through the Holy Spirit
Prophesy and evangelize doesn’t mean
That we are attempting to put our limited
Man made wisdom
On God’s Word
Prophesy means that we are sharing the Good News
Of Jesus Christ
And that Good News of Jesus Christ for us today is
He did not leave us to abandon us
The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus Christ
As an affirmation of who He was to us
To the Entire Creation
The Holy Spirit descends to LIBERATE US
Because we are called people of God
Jesus says Himself “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me
So I send you.”
The Holy Spirit descends to TRANSFORM US
Because we are called to prophesy-
Prophesy as witnesses of the chaos and mischievousness
The Holy Spirit creates-
- Pope Francis reaching across the paths that have divided us, meeting and praying with both Israeli and Palestinian spiritual leaders
- Ecumenical leaders and Bishops here boldly calling upon the political leaders for basic human and civil rights for all
- Communities gathering in sacred spaces, boldly lift their voices and their feet in praise and in prayer for those who are suffering from lack of housing, lack of water, lack of education
And the rest of the world watches, confused
Because the people of God are riled up!
Throwing Spiritual Tantrums
Being public with our witness, with our joy, with our prophesying
Our sharing the Good News is something no longer hidden
Or to be ashamed of
The Holy Spirit, She is not Proper at all!
She is the FIRE
Shut up in our bones
Won’t leave us alone.
Thanks Be to God.