Posts Tagged "Pentecost Sunday"

Sermon May 24: A Message for Everyone

Posted by on May 24, 2015 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon May 24: A Message for Everyone

Faith United Methodist Church May 24, 2015 Pentecost Sunday Rev. Kristabeth E. Atwood Scripture: Acts 2:1-8, 14-21 Prayer of Illumination: The Spirit of truth has come. May our hearts and minds know and understand the truth God is revealing to us each and every day. Amen. Sermon:   A Message for Everyone Even under the best of circumstances communication can be a challenge. Communication gurus tell us that an audience needs to hear something at least three times before they really ‘get it,’ but I suspect it is even more than that. In our church this takes the form of communication through bulletin announcements, PowerPoint, Horizon articles, Sunday morning announcements and e-mail. Still, things sometimes slip through the cracks. Communication, even when we share a common language, is hard work. And, no matter how hard we try, miscommunications do happen. Even the simple things stump us sometimes. You contact a friend about getting together. You think it’s lunch at 11:30. She thinks it’s lunch at 1:30. You miss each other. This kind of thing happens to all of us at one time or another. If details of time and place trip us up, imagine how much more difficult it is to communicate emotions and things of the heart. We all bring to our communication personal meanings and histories and nuances that can’t be fully expressed in words. It’s a wonder any of us ever really know what we are talking about! But we do, thank God, and we keep communicating. Communication keeps us connected, helps us grow and challenges us to consider things in new ways. And then, occasionally, you meet someone with whom communication is easy ~ or easier. My best friend Stephanie and I worked closely together for five years. By the end of that time we had developed a shorthand way of communicating. Yet, even spouses married many years run into communication difficulties. Sometimes we take that shorthand for granted, and don’t really listen. The Scripture tells us that people from all over the known world journeyed to Jerusalem to commemorate the Jewish festival known as the Feast of Weeks. Fifty days after the Passover, this was both an ingathering of the Spring harvest and a celebration of the day the Law was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. As Grace Imathiu describes, “…this was the day each person was to bring God a special gift in proportion to the blessing the Lord had given.”   Jews from everywhere were gathered in Jerusalem to give their offerings to God. The streets were full and bustling, like Church Street in the summer. Many languages were being spoken. This was the first big festival since Jesus’ crucifixion. And the disciples, we are told, were all together in one place. As faithful Jews, they probably planned to participate in the festival.   But then something happened that got everyone’s attention. First there was a noise, like the rush of a violent wind or a tornado. Then flaming tongues appeared among them. When they opened their mouths the disciples found they were given the ability to proclaim God’s word in different languages, languages they didn’t even know. The people standing outside on the street began to hear what was happening and were drawn to it. The Parthians were suddenly hearing their language spoken. Then the Elamites were able to hear their language. People from Pamphylia and Cappadocia heard familiar words and no longer felt like strangers in a strange land. As one preacher put it, it was a great day for multiculturalism.   God’s word was spreading, not just among one group of people,...

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Sermon June 8: New Era

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon June 8: New Era Faith United Methodist Church June 8, 2014 Pentecost Sunday Rev. Krista-Beth Atwood Scripture:  1 Corinthians 12:3b-13, Acts 2:1-21 Prayer of Illumination: With hope and joy we hear your word, O God.  As people of Pentecost, may we be filled with wonder and delight, may we claim our heritage as people of wind and fire.  Filled with the Spirit, may our hearts and minds be transformed to dream dreams and see visions, that we might sing your praises and do your will.  Amen. Sermon:  New Era Well, today I have the task of explaining the unexplainable.  It is Pentecost.  The birthday of the church.  Yet what is, who is this Holy Spirit that blows into town?   Who is this breath, wind, spirit?  This Advocate, Counselor, Comforter who shows up just as expected, yet takes us completely off guard?  Who is this One who guides our steps and speaks to our hearts but is not seen or heard?  Who is this Holy Spirit?  Who is this herald of new visions and new possibilities, a whole new era, that was there before even the beginning began. It is Pentecost and we can describe the effect the Holy Spirit had on those first followers of Jesus long ago.  We can talk about how they spoke in languages they did not even know and caused such a ruckus that some people thought they were drunk! We can see the bewilderment on the disciples’ faces as the wind whipped through their gathering.  We can celebrate that the Holy Spirit ushered in a new era in the life of faith, an era where no intermediary is needed, an era where God speaks directly to our hearts. Yet, despite all of this, ~ or more likely because of it ~ we have trouble explaining the Holy Spirit.  We know the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Theologians have tried to break it down. One seminary professor, when asked how to respond to the question, What is the Holy Spirit?,  suggested, “Tell them it’s a mystery and then get out of the room as fast as possible before anyone can ask follow-up questions.” It may be that sometimes we shy away from talking about the Holy Spirit because we don’t want to appear too fanatical or enthusiastic ~ too Pentecostal.  We don’t want people to think we’re holy-rollers.  We’re Mainline Protestants after all.  We sing together “Spirit of the Living God.”  Yet we’re not sure what the Holy Spirit can do for us today, and we’re not really sure if we want to find out.  Most of us probably don’t think a great wind will fill this house and we will start speaking in tongues.  In truth, we probably don’t really think anything too exciting or earth shaking will happen at all. So let me go out on a limb here and ask the un-askable question.    How do you experience the Holy Spirit?   We are not fanatics if we have an experience of the Holy Spirit.  As Mary Ogus writes: There is Pentecost Whenever, in the depths of the most destructive forces of our own hearts We discover a more creative force compelling us toward Reconciliation, toward kindness, toward forgiveness. There the spirit is rushing in, Giving us new eyes to see, new ears to hear New voices to speak God’s love. There is Pentecost This reminds me that the Holy Spirit is not finished with us yet.  The Holy Spirit didn’t act once, long ago, but continues to act in us and through us today.  In many ways...

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