• Content

  • Pages

  • Upcoming Events

    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 2, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 9, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 16, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…

The Day of Pentecost June 12, 2011

The Day of Pentecost Year A RCL June 12, 2011

Acts 2: 1-21
Psalm 104: 25-35; 37b
1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
John 20:19-23

Last Sunday we talked about Jesus’ commissioning of the disciples to spread the good news. He has told them that he will not leave them comfortless, that he will send the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth.

He has told them to wait. They are waiting. He has told them to pray. They are praying. They are together in one place. That is a key thing. We are together in one place. The Spirit comes in power when we are gathered in community.

Yes, there have been the betrayals, the denials. Some have run away. Some have come back. But now they are together, waiting, praying, as we are waiting, praying. Because they have hung in there, gathered in prayer and expectation, we can accurately assume that they have much more trust than they had, say, on Good Friday, and maybe even on the first Easter. He told them that he would die, and that happened, and it was horrible. He told them that he would rise, and they have seen him, in the upper room, on the road to Emmaus, on the beach, and other places. It has been an intense journey, and all of it has brought them to that place of trust and openness which allows God to work fully.

They are in the house, and we can just imagine the scene. A mighty wind, like the desert ruach, the wind of the Spirit, molding and shaping us into the persons God calls us to be. And something like flames dancing over the heads of the apostles, and gifts pouring out everywhere, gifts of the Spirit pouring into their hearts, into the core of their being. And suddenly, overflowing with the Spirit, they burst forth, speaking all the languages of the known world.

There are faithful Jews gathered in Jerusalem for the Jewish feast of Pentecost, fifty days after the Passover, a celebration of the giving of the covenant on Mt. Sinai and also a harvest festival. Wind and flames are swirling around the house where Jesus’ followers have gathered, and we can imagine people coming to see what’s going on here. There is a joyful commotion. The whooshing of the wind and flames, the paradoxically harmoniously unifying cacophany of all these languages. And the strangest thing—these people gathered from all over the known world—the writer of the account wants to make sure we understand just how far they have come, so the writer names the nationalities—Parthians, Medes, Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Rome, Egypt, Arabia, people from far and wide—all these people can understand what these Galileans are saying! Jesus’ disciples, who have never gone to the Middlebury language school, are breaking through the barriers and the separations caused by our human brokenness and limitations, and they are speaking the good news heart to heart with all these people. And that’s how the good news spreads—from one heart to another.

In today’s gospel, which we also read on the second Sunday of Easter, we have another account of Jesus giving the Spirit to his followers. Another side, another aspect of how the Spirit comes to us. Again, the key thing is that they are together. They are waiting and praying. It is the evening of the first Easter. They are afraid. The doors are locked for fear of the religious and secular authorities. Suddenly he is in the room. He quietly and gently walks through their fear. “Peace be with you,” he says. He gives them the gift of shalom, peace, that paradoxical peace that means the reconciling and bringing together of opposites and conflicts and differences. He gives them the gift of forgiveness—forgiveness of others, yes, and also forgiveness for them—for all the denials and betrayals and doubts and self-seeking. His whole attitude is one of forgiveness and acceptance. Now, given the gift of forgiveness, they are called to share that gift with others. And he gives them his breath; he breathes into them his life. This band of fearful people becomes his body, carrying on his ministry.

Our epistle today comments on the extraordinary nature of the Body of Christ. The Corinthians had a misunderstanding about the Body. They were beginning to think that some gifts, mainly speaking in tongues, were better than others.  Paul says very clearly that all the gifts and all the members of the Body are equal. Every gift and every member is needed. Weeding our gardens and washing the windows and cleaning the church are just as important as conducting the liturgy in a reverent manner, teaching, preaching, praying, and learning.

The Holy Spirit comes to us in different ways at different times. Sometimes, it is a dramatic encounter, as at the first Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church. But at other times, the Spirit comes into our lives and hearts quietly, as Jesus came quietly into this world, born in a stable. But the Spirit is always at work, transforming our lives and our world, building God’s shalom. The Spirit is always building, always creating.

May we be open to the gifts of the Spirit. May we, as the Body of Christ in this place, know that each member and every gift is infinitely precious in God’s sight. In the power of the Spirit, may we live the Good News and share God’s love.

                        Amen.

%d bloggers like this: