Pentecost Sunday…the end of a season…the transition to another season…the Birthday of the Church…the Holy Spirit’s arrival in power. The day is meant for proclamation…just to tell the story from Acts would be enough, but the readings for the day add so much more. How will you worship on this day? How will you let the Spirit loose in your preaching?
- I have been reading the Acts 2 passage on Pentecost Sunday for over 30 years now…and it never gets old. It is filled with mystery and awe, and even a bit of humor. Luke finds a way to make history entertaining and meaningful at the same time. He quickly frames the happening as a Jewish festival in Jerusalem…in the next verse there is the rush of wind (ruach-pneuma-spirit)–the the tongues of fire (theophany) and all were filled with the Holy Spirit and can understand one another with all of the different languages (and this is just in 4-8 verses). “Power” is the key word here. Look into all of those places that the Jews were from (v. 9-11)–some of those places did not exist at this point in history, some no longer existed, some were included for affect. Then some humor in vv. 12-15–“hey, it’s only nine o’clock” –everyone knows that they would be hungover, not drunk”-certainly the work of God. Then he proclaims the word of the God from the prophet Joel–which puts it into an ancient-future context. How do you explain God’s power in the present–look to the past and know it is tied to the future.
- The Psalm is an old favorite–it recalls the Creation, it recalls the Easter Vigil, some 50 days ago, it recalls the celebration that we are all called to offer on this and every 1st day of the week.
- I doubt that I will use the Romans passage in worship–but it is powerful and has some great language: We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Yes that is Pentecost. And the Spirit helps us in our weakness-Praise be to God.
- The Gospel from John gives the Evangelist’s view of the Holy Spirit–the Paraclete–The Comforter–The Advocate. Having someone to plead your case, testify on your behalf is a good thing. It is a little different from the power narrative of Acts, but it helps us understand the Trinitarian implications in John (next week, Trinity Sunday). It is an intriguing Gospel, lots of interesting language and teaching in it. For me, Acts is where it is at on Pentecost Sunday.
- Working Preacher (I like this quote: “The less closely one reads this pericope, the easier it is to preach!”)
- The Saturday Night Theologian (notes for all the lessons)
- Sermons from Seattle for Pentecost