May the boldness of the Holy Spirit embrace you as you hear God’s Good News this morning!
Change! Not just change, a transformation.
Isn’t that what we are really talking about today? Isn’t it change that is occurring in the midst of those that are gathering in Jerusalem? And what is our natural reaction when it comes to change? We run away from it as far as we can. We try to find any bit of familiarity and cuddle up to it so that we don’t lose anything more that is familiar to us in this time and place.
Change is uncomfortable. Change can lead to disaster. Change can also lead to something miraculous and wonderful. You know what, change requires faith. Do you have faith? For those that fear any change that may come their way, we may possibility question where their faith lies. For changes that come in response to the living, breathing Word of God and the Holy Spirit, requires our utmost faith.
This morning we celebrate Pentecost. Traditionally we look at Pentecost as the birth of the church as we read of the Holy Spirit busting down the doors of the house where the believers are gathering and creates a ruckus so loud and bold that others in Jerusalem have to rush to the scene to witness the commotion. Not only has a strong wind blown through the house and brought others to the scene, but the believers are now speaking in various tongues. The amazing and miraculous thing is that they are able to understand one another in their own language. Imagine that you are at a gathering of the United Nations, because of course we would get invited to that. Just imagine though being surrounded by hundreds of people, all citizens of different countries, speaking hundreds of different languages. And you could understand them all!!!
This is what is taking place in Jerusalem.
“Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”
And what is their response? Some are truly amazed at what is transpiring in front of their very own eyes and what they can hear with their very own ears. It is the Spirit at work in both those speaking and those that have gathered to witness. However, as you know, we can not gather together in assemblies without some naysayers. The few that speak out against them are sure that they must be drunk on the new wine! Isn’t that are first assumption at times too when we see someone doing or saying something so outrageous that it confronts our own perceptions. Surely, they must be drunk, or perhaps they are high! Jesus too spoke to those that questioned everything he said and he was thought to be speaking counter to the law. It is Jesus’ message in action that is now taking place in Jerusalem. The promise of the Holy Spirit coming to the believers is now being fulfilled.
The tongues, as of fire, are God’s promise coming to the believers and the Words of Jesus being fulfilled. Just as we have taken part during the Easter season of pointing to where we see God’s promise, the believers received God’s promise on the day of Pentecost as they were called to go forth and share the good news. And the Spirit is poured out upon all flesh, even those that come rushing to the scene can understand those that are speaking in their own native tongues while those that questions the whole thing are left wondering. The Spirit is bringing about change for all of those gathered on this day! It is a transformation of the heart and mind, and the Spirit brings all together in one place to witness what God is doing in and through Christ.
We too are called to change. As the Holy Spirit comes and breaths new life in this place through the living Word of God, Jesus Christ, we are called to places that we may have never expected. How do we get there, if we do not know where there is? We listen. We listen to God and the Spirit calling us into new forms of ministry and being with one another.
These past couple of days I have had the opportunity to attend Synod Assembly and the overwhelming message was about change. Where are we called to as a church? Where are we called to as a Synod? And as we get down to an even closer level, where are we being called to as a congregation?
Presiding Bishop Eaton was present to share the news of some of the wonderful ministries taking part currently within the ELCA. However, God is always at work in all we do and as a denomination she is encouraging all of its members to come together and examine how we are all “Called Forward Together in Christ.” What do you want the future of the ELCA to look like? Where do you think we are called to be as a church? We will be having these discussions in the coming months so that we can share our input.
Bishop Kreiss discussed the new focus of the synod as we are called to Rise Up and Go Forward! There are some great things happening within our Synod that Trinity is going to be a part of.
And here at Trinity we are in the midst of change! You are getting to know me and I am getting to know you. It is also time to start moving forward in the Kingdom of God and listening to where God is calling us. We will be putting together an exciting new Stewardship emphasis over the summer. We already have some great ministries at work and seeing our new Bike Ministry serving by not only giving bikes to those in need, it also is serving as a ministry to those that want to share their skills and talents.
The Spirit is alive and well in this place and I encourage you to be open to the breath of change that is taking place in the church today as we are called to exciting and new places. May the Spirit transform you and ignite that flame within you to share the powerful message of Jesus Christ through your words and actions.