Acts 2:1-11/ Galatians 5:16-25 / John 15:26-27; 16:12-15
Happy Pentecost Sunday!!!
Happy Feast Day!!!
how are we to understand Pentecost?
Is it as simple as Jesus ascending and
sending down His Spirit on
his followers and forming the Church?
It is certainly that. . .
but there’s so much more to the story. . .
the story of Pentecost begins. . .
with these words:
In the beginning,
when God created the
heavens and the earth.
The story of Pentecost begins
at the very beginning, when God created.
It begins when God orders the cosmos
and directs it to function in great harmony. . .
and unity. . .
everything working together. . .
the heavens and the earth. . .
the time and the seasons. . .
the sun and the moon and the stars. . .
the birds and the plants and the animals. . .
Order and harmony!!!
And then. . .
in the later part of the 6th day of creation. . .
We hear this:
God created humankind in his image;
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
The Pentecost story begins with God giving dominion. . .
and responsibility. . .
God making humans as overseers of
his well-ordered and harmonious creation. . .
Overseers in God’s image and likeness.
And then on the 7th day. . .
Now this doesn’t mean. . .
like it is so often interpreted. . .
that after all the hard work of creation,
God pulls a beer out of the refrigerator. . .
props up his feet up. . .
turns on Netflix and. . .
No, it doesn’t mean that at all.
It means that “God made his rest”. . .
God made His “dwelling place”
in the midst of His creation.
It means the heavenly realm and
the earthly realm are connected. . .
with God sitting on the throne.
And we humans—
Created in God’s image and likeness—
Helping God maintain his beautiful creation.
An analogy would be that after
the hard work of the election is over. . .
the new American president “makes his rest”
in the White House
where he can now start to govern.
And the president has many helpers
to help him carry out his governing.
And then. . .
we know what happens next
in the grand story. . .
the story of Pentecost.
We blow it!!!
While in this paradise
we eat of Tree of the Knowledge of
Good and Evil. . .
We humans decide on our own
what is right and wrong. . .
To the heck with God says. . .
To the heck with us acting in God’s image and likeness. . .
To heck with us being God bearers. . .
To heck with us being God’s presence in the world. . .
We’ll do it our way!!!
And of course. . .
the results are disastrous. . .
Paradise no more. . .
violence enters the picture. . .
Cain kills Abel. . .
murder and mayhem. . .
evil spreads like wildfire. . .
and this first part of the
Pentecost story ends in Genesis 11. . .
The Tower of Babel. . .
Humanity divided. . .
Divided into different countries. . .
All speaking their own language. . .
All looking after their own interest. . .
All doing their own thing.
The harmony and unity and well-ordered
creation is no more. . .
torn and ripped apart
like a vandalized piece of art. . .
a masterpiece ripped up and torn in shreds.
the Story of Pentecost starts here.
And the rest of the Bible. . .
From Genesis 12. . .
to Revelation 22
it’s all about God’s great rescue mission to
put all the pieces back together again. . .
to restore God’s masterpiece.
To bring back harmony and unity. . .
To bring back peace and justice and love to God’s creation. . .
So God can “make his rest with us.”
And the Pentecost—
is a key part in God’s rescue plan. . .
That’s how we Christians are to understand Pentecost.
The rescue mission starts with Abraham. . .
And the formation of the chosen people. . .
from whom the Messiah will come
And there’s Moses and the giving of the Law. . .
restoring some order. . .
to some. . .
And then God eventually makes
his grandest move in
the rescue mission to restore
harmony and unity and order back to creation. . .
We get Jesus. . .
God incarnate. . .
God making his dwelling among
us in such a unique way. . .
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. . .
Humanity and divinity now joined. . .
The New Kingdom of God is at hand. . .
And Jesus takes into Himself
all of our sins and division and
violence and hatred
and revenge. . .
All that causes disorder. . .
All that destroys harmony. . .
All that breaks unity. . .
And Jesus defeats them with
self-sacrificial love on the Cross. . .
with Jesus, we’re in the
fourth quarter of God’s great rescue mission. . .
And then Jesus ascends into heaven. . .
And sends down the Holy Spirit. . .
This powerful force of pure love. . .
The Holy Spirit is pure love. . .
Let me repeat that. . .
The Holy Spirit is Pure Love. . .
So anything not of love is not of the Spirit!!!
Jesus sends His Spirit to dwell in our souls. . .
if we allow it. . .
and cooperate with it.
And when this indwelling of the Spirit happens
we take our rightful place in creation again. . .
As God bearers. . .
As God’s representative. . .
As God’s helper. . .
As over-seers of God’s creation
in God’s image and likeness.
That’s why. . .
We feed the hungry. . .
We clothe the naked. . .
We house the homeless. . .
We build hospitals. . .
We heal. . .
we build schools and we educate. . .
we forgive. . .
we turn the other cheek. . .
we love our enemies. . .
we are merciful. . .
And we become peacemakers. . .
We become living and breathing signs that
the Kingdom of God is at hand.
We become parts of God’s rescue mission as
restorers of God’s harmonious and well-ordered creation.
And by allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. . .
We display the fruits of the Holy Spirit:
Love. . .joy. . .peace. . .
Patience. . .kindness. . .generosity. . .
Faithfulness. . .gentleness. . .
God bearers. . .
Jesus bearers. . .
part of God’s rescue mission
acting in the image and likeness of God.
That’s how we Christians see the Pentecost.
If the story of Pentecost begins with creation
and making us overseers in that creation. . .
The story of Pentecost ends when Jesus comes again
and ushers in a new heaven and a new earth.
Where all the order and harmony and
peace and love are fully restored. . .
when the wolf is the guest of the lamb. . .
when the child will play in the viper’s den. . .
and all the division and
disunity of the Tower of Babel is no more. . .
I, for one, can’t wait for that day.
We’re in the fourth quarter. . .
Just waiting. . .
And cooperating with the Spirit. . .
Being God bearers. . .
until the final horn sounds.
Holy Spirit 05/23-24/2021