Wind Blown

Listen to this sermon here.

Gate Pa – Pentecost Sunday 2015
Psalm                         Psalm 104:24-34, 35  
First Reading:                         Acts 2:1-21                             
Second Reading:                    Rom 8:22-27                          
Gospel:                                    John 15:26-27 16:4-15           

What I want to say:
Explore the wonder of the languages, and the social justice basis for pentecost

What I want to happen:
People to be opened to the radical newness of what Pentecost is all about

The Sermon

     1.      Introduction:

who felt earth move listened to Acts reading
left feeling bewildered, amazed, astonished or perplexed?
guess is none of us
2000 years hearing
so familiar
too familiar
hearing different language from what occurred in
            when occurred
            what written in
miss so much radical nature what Luke describes
left with nice story
need birthday cake for the church
happy birthday church.

     2.      Language

experience of Maori class – operates in te reo Maori
get a lot of what is saying
have to really focus
know lot I am missing a lot
don’t have vocab truly understand all being said
not spent a lot time around marae and Maori settings
            don’t get some idioms and phrases.
Langauge is tricky thing.
When on Iona 10 years ago
doing my after lunch duty woman grown up in Glasgow
spent last 20 years in Perth
before coming to Iona
been home
as we swept she spoke to me
apparently we both were speaking same language
I had no idea what she said
spoke in Glaswegian once
            which translated at – we are a bunch of mucky pups
            even knowing that – no idea what she had said
language is tricky thing
            so much more that words and grammar
experienced that other way around
exchange students
whose English pretty good
whole lot of New Zealand slang they kept missing
we used without thinking
left them with blank faces
teaching in Pacific Islands or Solomons – people for whom English is not first language
always trying
            keep it simple
            leave out New Zealand isms
realise is that whole of language tied up with where from
all which only make sense if know the assumed knowledge that lies behind what is being said.
so while I am trying to learn te reo
unless immerse myself in te ao Maori
always going to be pretty superficial
bucket load of cultural images, stories, sayings
            not get
            never use
leave my language impoverished

     3.      Translating

that makes translating work so hard
remember at peace event in Brazil where Desmond Tutu was speaking about us being arms of Jesus
            translated as we are guns of Jesus
even harder when talking about translating words  written at least 2000 years ago in very different language and culture

work translators made so much more difficult
            too often not really knowing that assumed knowledge
            even if do – trying work out how capture that in their work
all of which is why we are not feeling
bewildered, amazed, astonished or perplexed
a lot going on in this story that we just miss

     4.      God’s new thing

all which makes Pentecost such ground breaking event
People heard their own dialect
Glaswegians would have heard
            not just English
own language
with all little nuances from where came from
used their images
used their little sayings
they heard what a bunch of mucky pups when everyone else heard gibberish.
not only hear it
heard it in their language of home
Remember friend mine talking about coming home from OE
arrived airport in London
check in person said “sweet”
like she was home already
in this story today
            people hear their dialect
            with all emotion that evokes
            of family and land
            sense of belonging
            of rootedness
Gospel proclaimed to them
            in their language
just imagine how people felt as they heard this
in their own language
hearing and understanding
with no strain of trying comprehend
            in this place where always having strain a little
response they are bewildered, amazed, astonished or perplexed
are we?

     5.      Ramifications

At heart of todays readings is declaration that God is doing a radically new thing
number radically new things
left those initially involved feeling bewildered, amazed, astonished or perplexed
Most obvious is ..
            there is no one holy language
no God language
unlike just about every other religion around Jerusalem and Roman world at time
Judaism – Hebrew is God’s language
            holy language
                        language of scripture
                        language of prayer -
places Israel and Jerusalem at centre of that religion
where you look to
other sects arose around that time
            used language of founders – sacred language
            geographical centre became home religion
600 years later – Islam arise out Arabic Peninsular
            language of Prophet Mohammed Arabic becomes the language of God
            language worship
            language of scripture
            Prophet Mohammed’s Home of Mecca becomes centre of that religion
similar assumption among new group of followers Jesus
            good Jews
            Hebrew continue to be language God
            Jerusalem with temple – be geographical centre
Pentecost explodes all those expectations
Book acts recounts story how all other expectations
            feel to one side as gospel spread
suddenly no language is more important that others
no place is more important than others
eventually understood as
            no people more important
            no culture more important
God is shaking thing up here
and figuratively
and still is
shaking up our assumptions
shaking up our notions how God operates and who God works through

     6.      Pentecost

Pentecost is about Coming of Holy Spirit of God
message is clear
Spirit of God is at work in every people, place and language.
God will be known in new and fresh ways
not just here in the holiest of all cities
but where you are from
God does not need to be taken there
God is there
at work
offering hope
creating new ways of being a society
all important
all cared for
God is doing a very different thing
God is breaking out all moulds God stuffed into
Are we ready?
what moulds are creaking today
How are we hearing God’s words of life to us afresh
in our language of home

Come Holy Spirit

shake the hearts of your faithful

fill the hearts of your faithful

and kindle in them the fire of your love

Send forth your Spirit

and we shall be created

and you will renew the face of the earth


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