Summer Take Aways – Pentecost May 27, 2012
Welcome to Summer Take Aways – these are short reflections, and prayers are based on the Bible readings from the weekly lectionary. In worship each week, you’ll hear these readings. The preaching often relates to the readings as well. We read the Bible and pray every day as a way of preparing ourselves to be the children of God Jesus calls us to be. Enjoy these Take Aways each week with your household, around your dinner table, in the car, at the beach, wherever your household is gathered for times of reflection. Let us know how Summer Take Aways work for you. Blessings, Hillary
Today, we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, (the fifty days following Easter), the birthday of the church. Before ascending, Jesus promises his disciples that he will send a comforter, the companion, the paraclete, the Holy Spirit to be with them, to lead them to complete truth. Jesus ascends, the gift of the Holy Spirit descends, and the Church is born.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHURCH!!
The readings for Pentecost give us three different images of the Holy Spirit…
2. Flames of Fire
The First Reading: Romans 8:22-27 – Hope from Groaning
The apostle Paul writes to the church in Rome, that all who are guided by the Spirit of God, are children of God, heirs of God and joint-heirs, made free in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We share in Jesus’ suffering and in his glory and we live in hope. Hope is believing in that which we cannot yet see. So, we persevere with confidence and trust in the Holy Spirit working within us and for us.
The Holy Spirit comes to help us in our weakness, Paul continues to write to the community struggling to stay faithful. Keep praying…
We don’t always know what to pray… Paul writes, don’t worry, the Holy Spirit will pray for us in groans, or sighs that cannot be put into words. Have hope, trust…the Holy Spirit is present, even when we don’t know what to do.
This week, ask one another, what do you hope for? Pray for what you hope for.
The Second Reading: Acts 2:1-21 – Flames of Fire
In your household, if you’re going to share any story about the birthday of the church…share this one. The imagery is fantastic. It’s nine o’clock in the morning and the disciples (1:13-14), including the women, are in the upper room, waiting, just like Jesus told them to. Maybe they’re not sure what to do. So, they pray.
Then, from heaven, comes a fierce wind filling the house. (It’s hot this week. Turn on the fan while talking about this story). It’s really loud. When they look around, somehow, what look like individual flames, come to sit on top of each one of their heads!
Then, immediately, each person is filled with the Holy Spirit. Here’s what we learn about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a gift from God that propels us into action.
Right away Jesus’ disciples all start speaking and all of Jerusalem hears about the mightiness of God. There’s a lot of noise. Everyone is speaking at the same time. But, hears the real gift. Jesus’ friends, they all speak in the native tongue of every single person in Jerusalem! So, everyone is hearing about how much God loves us!
It’s hard to believe. Some people think the disciples are drunk. Jesus’ friend, Peter, sets them straight and reminds the people that the prophet Joel said God would pour out his Spirit on everyone and everyone who wants to know will know about how much God loves us!!!
So, it’s not in this story, but, if you keep reading in Acts, you’ll learn how Jesus’ friends, all filled up with the Holy Spirit, went out to tell about God’s love for us in the story of Jesus. The book of Acts is really called the Acts of the Apostles. Jesus first friends were called disciples. Disciples means to follow. After Pentecost, Jesus’ friends are called apostles. Apostles means to go out. The apostles go out to teach, preach, heal, and pray in Jesus’ name. People kept coming to listen, to learn and to pray. The Church was born.
Imagine if every time you felt the wind you would say, this is God, sweeping me up in his love!
Flames of fire are a sign for the birth of the Church!
The Holy Spirit is our birthday present from Jesus. Now, today, we get the Holy Spirit in our baptism; unearned, free, all wrapped up as God’s favor upon us. The Holy Spirit is what gives us the ability to be people of action. Go out, good friends, and tell others about God giving us the Holy Spirit. Happy Birthday Church!!!
The Holy Spirit might look like flames of fire!!!
What kind of action do you want to take in responding to God’s love?
The Gospel: John 15:26-27:4b-15 – Truth
Jesus is trying to explain to his friends what happens when we receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is so strong, so mighty, that it forces us into the truth! And, the truth is, even when we don’t feel very capable, or very strong…Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to equip us and saddle us up to be truth bearers of justice and righteousness. Happy Birthday truth tellers!
The Holy Spirit might look like truth telling!
What kind of truth do you need to share this week that reveals what is right and just?
Let us pray: Dear God, help us hope. Help us see the flames of your love and mercy dancing on all those around us. Help us to tell the truth. Thank you for adopting us into your family called the church. Amen.
Celebrate: Have a Birthday Party!!!