Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Miracle of Pentecost



 Gate Pa – 19th May 2013 – Pentecost Sunday

Readings:
First Reading:  Acts 2:1-21                               
Psalm:             Psalm:   104:24-34,35b
Epistle:            Romans 8:4-17           
Gospel:            John 14:8-17   
           

What I want to say:
miracle of Pentecost is not that Spirit God came down in power and allowed early followers to win converts through signs and wonders
miracle Pentecost
            people able worship God in own language
            early followers stopped looking day when God return and they would be in winners circle
                        with humility and love worked among both poorest and wealthiest
living out – loving God with heart, and soul and mind and strength, and loving neighbour as themselves.
What I want to happen:
what expectations or hopes are we invited to let go of this Pentecost?
once we let those go, where do we see Spirit of God at work in those around us?

The Sermon 

  1.     Introduction:

what stood out for you as you listened and read story of what happened on first Pentecost?

      2.     Last Pentecost

last Pentecost I attended the ecumenical Pentecost service at HTT.
at the end sermon, time ministry and prayer, preacher prayed earnestly throughout it all
what remember praying for – Heaven ripped open and power God come down
interesting prayer
stayed with me
partly because really unsure what he was actually praying for
as said colleague who helped organise it
I thought Spirit God was present and at work in world now
-         what more looking for?

     3.     Islam and the disciples

10 days ago was Ascension Day
remember Luke’s recounting of Jesus ascending into heaven
what interested me in that story is that standing on Mount Olives
            after all happened – crucifixion, resurrection
            disciples still hoping Jesus will now rise up and restore Kingdom of Israel
                        with them in winners circle getting power and glory
hoped heaven ripped open and power God unleashed
Jesus must have been so disappointing for them
            what do we do now?
a lot happier with Muhammad
just finished reading a biography of life of Muhammad (His Life Based on the Earliest Sources)
            when faced opposition and persecution – Archangel Gabriel told the prophet to bear it with patience and humility
many fled to Abyssinia
            once numbers grew greater
            moved from Mecca to Medina
            started firstly defend themselves
                        go attack
                        soon became strategic decision for tribes enter Islam
                                    Muhammad great friend and ally
                                    terrible enemy
what occurred to me as I read this was
            Muhammad was exactly who disciples looking for
strong person
            lead them
            throw off their enemies
            lead them to glory
everything Jesus didn’t do
brings us back to today’s reading from Acts

     4.     Pentecost

two amazing things happen as result of events heard about today
first suddenly disciples stop looking for restoration of Kingdom of Israel
            let go
            let go need resist, fight back
            let go all longed for  be restore
            let go desire to be important and leaders
            let go need for heaven to be ripped open and for power God unleashed on world
instead got on with living as Jesus did
seeing all as God’s beloved, especially those on edge or beyond
so that church Rome renowned work among poor and slaves
that was what got them into trouble
how different disciples on Mount Olives
            “Is this the time you will restore the kingdom of Israel”
wonder what we being invited let go of?
what hopes aspirations more about us than God
what gets in our way?

     5.     Language

second thing struck me about this story is that people heard gospel in own language
commonly – language of religion is language founder
            Judaism – Hebrew
            Islam – Arabic
language worship conducted in
language a lot teaching occurs in
Official language of that religion
if establishing a new religion as followers Jesus
            language that religion – language Jesus
                        Hebrew or Aramaic
so what is happening here?
God is doing a new thing, an amazing thing
            God laying groundwork so that when new religion gradually forms
                        because of events of Pentecost
                        teaching and worship can happen in people’s native language
such an amazing thing that we in West couldn’t even keep it up
            soon Latin became the official language
more to this than language we use in worship
these disciples were soon to be scattered across known world.
            India, Armenia, Ethiopia to Rome and beyond
sense for those disciples as left security of Judah,
and travelled to far off places
Risen Christ was already there
already at work
they would never be alone
simply had to join in that work
God is reassuring them
God is inviting them see world very differently
God is at work in every place, and not just this place with these people
God is not a God of safety and status quo
God is changing the world
            invited those disciples to join in that work
            invites us to join in that work

     6.     Wondering

wonder in light of all that
what are we invited to let go of this Pentecost
what gets in our way
what hopes or expectations do we need to quit if we are to be followers Christ
once we let those go, where do we see Spirit of God at work in those around us?

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