Project Description

Pentecost C
Acts 2:1-11 / 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7,12-13 / John 14:15-16, 23b-26

Happy Pentecost!!!

Happy Feast Day!!!

David Brooks—
I don’t know if you know him or not—
But he’s a popular writer for the New York Times.

He has a new book out—
It’s called The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life.

Has anybody read it?

Well, what’s with his title—
The Second Mountain.
The Second Mountain

Well, with this title—
Brooks asserts that some people just know
exactly why they were put on this earth.

Their life has become a mission.

Life is just not something to be lived—
it’s to be lived well.

Life is full of meaning and purpose.

And Brooks says that these mission driven lives
follow a certain path.

Up one mountain—
then down—
only to climb another mountain—
the second mountain.

The first mountain. . .

That’s the mountain that we start to
climb as soon as we get out of school—
when we start our career.

And what’s on top of this first mountain? . . . .

On top of this first mountain are
the goals that our culture endorses.

To be a success in the eyes of the world.

And while these goals may look different externally—
They come from the same root:

Wealth. . . .
Popularity. . . .
Power and control. . . .
The right social circles. . . .
A relaxed and easy life.

But Brooks says that for some—
when they get to the top of
this first mountain. . . .

they look around—
and find the view . . .
well . . . unsatisfying.

They say: “Is this all there is?!?!?!?”

Or maybe something happens in their life:
some catastrophic event. . .
like the death of a child. . .
or a cancer scare. . .
or their family falls apart. . . .

And they realize that climbing this
first mountain just isn’t worth it.

And they too say:
“Is this all there is?!?!?!?”

When they see that the
view from the top of this first mountain
isn’t what they thought it would be. . . .

they look around and see a mountain that
they had been oblivious too—
a much higher mountain
And they realize that this first mountain
was not their mountain—

Their mountain is the “second mountain”—
The higher one.

And they start climbing this “second mountain.”

Maybe they change jobs. . . .

Or maybe they start looking differently
at their present jobs.

Like Luke.

Luke was a hospital janitor.

In the hospital where Luke worked
there was a young man who was in a coma—
and the odds of him coming out of it were slim.

And the boy’s father had been with his
son day and night for 6 straight months—
holding a silent and lonely vigil.

One day Luke went in to clean the boy’s room—
and the father had left to get something to eat.

Luke ran into the father later in the day—
and the father was irate.

“Why didn’t you clean my boy’s room?”

Luke’s “first mountain” response would
have been to snap back and say,
“Listen Mister, I did clean your boy’s room.”

But that’s not how Luke responded.

Instead he gave a “second mountain” response.

His job was not really about cleaning rooms—
His job was to serve the patients and their families.

He knew the agony and the stress
that the father was going through.

This father needed comfort not conflict.

So, without a whimper he goes in and
cleans the room again.

Luke was climbing that “second mountain.”

So maybe they change jobs. . . .

Or maybe they looking at their present jobs different. . . .

Or maybe they’re retired and they change how
they spend their time and their resources. . . .

Whatever. . . .
These “second mountain” climbers are transformed.

Life is not about them anymore!

If the first mountain is about building up the ego
and defining the self. . . .

the second mountain is about
shedding the ego and losing the self.

If the first mountain is about acquisition. . . .

the second mountain is about contribution.

If the first mountain is about upward mobility. . . .

the second mountain is about downward mobility.

Brooks has given us a great image hasn’t he?!?!?!. . . .
the “second mountain.”

And we know—
we know—
down deep we know—

No matter how much we try to resist and rationalize—
we know which mountain we were meant to climb.

Especially as Christians. . .

Because that “second mountain”
That’s Jesus’ mountain—
that’s the mountain He climbed.

Why do I mention this “second mountain”
on the feast of Pentecost?

It’s because it’s the Holy Spirit—
It’s Holy Spirit who was sent to
lead us up this second mountain.

The Holy Spirit is our guide. . . .
The Holy Spirit is our advocate. . .
The Holy Spirit is our comforter. . . .

As we climb the “second mountain.”

You know I think the first part of climb—
and the hardest—
is about shedding that ego.

But it’s a must.

In Thailand, in the 1930s—
the government set out to build a new
temple in the heart of Bangkok.

And they found a large concrete statue of the Buddha—
And had it transferred to the site.

Well, the statue was much heavier than expected
and the chain snapped as the
statue was lifted into it’s new home.

The statue fell with a great crash.
And to the surprise of everyone—
the concrete on the outside was only a
coating to protect another statue on the inside.

Inside they found another statue
made of 50 tons of gold—
worth over 2 billion dollars.
That’s the first thing the Holy Spirit
accomplishes as it leads us up
the second mountain.

It’s to shatter our false self—
Our bogus ego—
That has built up through our human journey.

To shatter the effects of original sin—

To shatter the protection
we’ve put around ourselves
to survive in a sometimes
dog-eat-dog world—

To shatter the armor we’ve put around
ourselves to hide our insecurities.

And when that false self—
That bogus ego is shattered—

We discover our true self—
The self that God made us to be—
The self that is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

And when this happens—
we’re only half-way up that “second mountain.”

For the rest of our journey to the top—
The Holy Spirit will send us out on mission—
To serve God and our neighbor.

That’s why we’re given the charisms—
the certain gifts that we all have.

As St. Paul wrote:

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.

To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit—
to reach and change the world.
So, what’s the lesson for Pentecost?

It’s to surrender to the Holy Spirit.

It’s to let the Holy Spirit be our guide.

To be our guide up that “second mountain”—
The mountain that Jesus climbed.

Let us pray:

Come Holy Spirit—Come.

We welcome you into our souls
so you can lead us up that “second mountain.”

We welcome you into our souls
so that we can be transformed into the likeness of Jesus.

We welcome you into our souls
so you can send us on mission.

We welcome you into our souls
so our lives will filled with ultimate meaning—
and we can experience true joy.

Come Holy Spirit—

Holy Spirit 06/07-08/2019