Pentecost—Year C—May 19, 2013
Preached at the Lutheran Church of Framingham
Watch Linked Video First!
But it isn’t always so easy to tell the story though. We do not live in a homogenous society, even when we are all speaking English, we are not all speaking the same language. There are different values, and priorities, and even different ways of talking about life and about God.
One person might call it fate, another chance or coincidence, another the work of the Holy Spirit. And that is why we need the Holy Spirit, not to help us all speak the same language, but to help us understand one another and communicate, so that each can understand and answer for themselves, in their own lives—where is God active?—and know for sure that they are part of that activity, that they are children of God.
I can point out certain instances of God at work in the world today, in your lives. I attempt to do this almost every week in my some sermons, instances from my life and some that I see in yours. However, I also need you to point out instances in my life that I might miss or misinterpret, and you for others that they and I might be blind to. We need each other’s help to put God: the Creator, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit into a language that they understand.
Even the early followers of Jesus needed each other’s help in seeing clearly sometimes. Peter had to point out that those speaking different languages were not drunk, but filled with the Holy Spirit. And Peter had to point out to Jews from every nation that what they were seeing at that moment was what the prophet Joel had foretold, and what they had seen Jesus do was proof that he was the Messiah they thought they were still waiting for.
Likewise, sometimes, we need the work of the Spirit that is happening right in front of us pointed out to us. And sometimes, we will, with the Spirit’s help, be like Peter and be the ones that point the work of the Spirit out to others who see it, but do not understand it.
The Spirit comes to us at our Baptisms, dwells within us with the bread and wine, and abides with us daily, out there, outside these walls as much as inside them. The Spirit fills us, makes us a community of prophets, and equips us and sends us out communicate and share the Gospel with the world, those sitting around us now, and with all the others who have never stepped foot in a church.
The world “neither sees [the Sprit] nor knows [it],” and so cannot receive it directly, but through us, the body of Christ, our words and actions, our love and service, we can spread the Gospel, the good news throughout the world and make the Spirit known.
“This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.”
Pentecost did not just happen once. The Holy Spirit is poured out over and over again and that is what allows us to do God’s work in the world, to create the next Pentecost, the next outpouring of God’s Spirit.
A preaching blog I read almost weekly included a reminder to preachers everywhere this week, saying: “So don’t just preach about Pentecost this year, Working Preacher, trust that the next Pentecost is happening in and through your words as they go out in the congregation accompanied by the Spirit and fall, like tongues of flame, on people hungry to have their spiritual lives rekindled.”
But if this is true of me, that a Pentecost, and outpouring of the Spirit, can happen in and through my words and actions, it is also true of you, for we are all equally children of God, “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” So don’t just think that your life has no cosmic impact this week, faithful people, trust that the next Pentecost is happening in and through your words all throughout society: at school, at your workplace, at home, accompanied by the Spirit and fall, like tongues of flame, on people hungry for God, even when they don’t know it. Amen.