This Sunday is Pentecost. I invite everyone to wear red; a little red if you don’t wish to be showy or a lot of red if you are feeling bold. Red is the color of fire (although I think is more to the orange than red). The disciples saw “divided tongues as of fire” descend on each other. So, let us all wear red on Sunday.
Our lessons are:
Acts 2:1-21 – What does the coming of the Holy Spirit mean? Why does Luke, the author of “The Acts of the Apostles”, have this event happening 7 weeks after Easter. The Gospel of John say that Jesus breathed the Spirit onto or into the disciples on the day of resurrection (John 20:22). What does it mean when Luke says the disciples heard the “rush of a violent wind”? Is it similar to the sound of a coming tornado? And then there is the sighting of “tongues as of fire”; is it tongues or fire? All of this sounds like a “fire storm” as some firefighter out west often report. Now we know that wind and fire can be both useful and deadly. I think that the early Christians, and Luke in particular, struggle with words to describe something powerful that happened that day which turned some meek followers of Jesus into bold proclaimers of the Gospel. The fire of the Holy Spirit burned off whatever was holding them back and refined them into people who would, in a few short years, take the Gospel to Spain and India, Africa and Germany. What is holding us back that needs to be burned off by the Spirit so we can proclaim the Gospel of God’s Love, Light and Life? How can we experience the Fruits of the Spirit?
OR Ezekiel 37:1-14 – “Ezekiel cried dem dry bone, now hear the word of the Lord”. Here is an old video of the Delta Rhythm Boy singing “Dry Bones”:
“And I will put my spirit (or “breath”, see next section) within you and you shall live.” Can a church or a congregation that has slumped or is perhaps thinking about closing (verse 11) live again? Of course it can. Now hear the Word of the Lord!
Psalm 104:24-34 – A Psalm in praise of God who is Creator and Provider. “When you send forth your ruach they are created.” (verse 30) Ruach (Hebrew) and pneuma (Greek) can mean “spirit”, “breath”, or “wind”. The official English translation of the Jewish scripture, the Tanakh, has, “Send back your breath, they are created.”
Romans 8:22-27 – All of creation is waiting for the revelation of Christ and be freed from decay and death. Humanity has also waited for this time with the hope that has been given by the Spirit. The Spirit helps us in our weakness and knows our inmost prayers.
OR Acts 2:1-21 – See above. If we read Acts as the first lesson, then Romans is the second followed by the Gospel of John. If Ezekiel is the first lesson, then Acts becomes the second which is followed by John.
John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 – Remember, in John 14, 15, and 16 Jesus has washed his disciples feet (chapter 13), had dinner with them, and is now discussing what will be shortly happening: his betrayal, arrest, trial, torture, and death. In the section we are reading Jesus talks about how the Spirit will help them understand not only what Jesus had taught them, but also with the ways of the world (verses 8-11).
I pray your week will be blessed with all kinds of opportunities to help someone. (Remember your assignment I gave last Sunday?)
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor