Sunday, May 31, 2009
Day of Pentecost: Whitsunday, 2009
Pentecost, Giotto di Bondone,
May 31, 2009 Whitsunday (RCL B) Acts 2: 1-11
We have a bit of a tag-team approach to this morning’s sermon. I’m doing the preface. Then our friend Helga Buck, our partner in ministry through Five Talents International, will be sharing with us.
But I do want to begin on this day, as we remember the ancient Jewish festival of Shavuot, in Greek, “Pentecost,” counting fifty days from Passover, the celebration remembering in particular that key moment in the Exodus story, as Moses comes down the Holy Mountain, cradling in his arms the great Tablets of the Law. The Giving of the Torah—establishing the groundwork of Covenant between God and his Chosen People.
And on Shavuot, as we read this morning, the friends of Jesus are once again together in one place. I imagine them in that same Upper Room where they had gathered first on Holy Thursday, sharing that Last Supper with him, and then where they had come together on that amazing Sunday, first to hear the news of the women, then to hear from the disciples from Emmaus, then finally to meet the risen Lord himself, as he appeared to them. Then of course in the same place, a week later, gathered there in fear, Jesus comes to them again, and shows himself to Thomas. “Here, feel my hands, touch my side.”
Now all these weeks later here again, after the amazing mountaintop experience of Ascension, they wait, as he had asked them to do. And suddenly that sound, like a mighty wind, fills the whole house, top to bottom, inside and out. And Tongues of flame are upon them, and they rush out into the street filled with Holy Spirit to proclaim the Good News. As the old hymn says, “I can’t keep from singing.” It fills them up, the Spirit, and overflows.
And the text I’d like to highlight, from the Second Chapter of Acts, the eleventh verse, “Cretans and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues, the wonderful works of God.”
And simply to say, on and on, in abundance, to every race and nation and language, every family and people, from that first Whitsunday and Pentecost, in every tongue, the “wonderful works of God” in the person of our Savior Jesus continue to be proclaimed. This all becomes our story, as we through our faith are lifted up into the great story of God’s saving work in Christ, one generation to the next.
In a very exciting way, a very meaningful way, over the past several years, we here at St. Andrew’s have been empowered to give voice to the “wonderful works of God” in Spanish, as we have come together in prayer and conversation and in the gathering of resources to be a part of the Five Talents Ministry project in Lima, Peru.
Month by month we’ve been invited to share in the life story of men and women, children and grandparents, whose lives have been transformed in this ministry, with dignity and a sense of true value and self-esteem. And when we receive a thank-you note each month as we forward our contributions to this work, I always feel almost a little embarrassed. To know that we’re the ones who should be and are saying thank you, for the privilege to share in this work.
So a good word here, and thank you to Helga Buck for joining us this morning from Five Talents . . . .
Click Here to Read More About Five Talents
And Five Talents/ECLOF Peru, our Five Talents Partner Project