READING: Acts 2:1-21; I Corinthians 12:1-13
SERMON : "Pentecost: The Power and Presence of Christ"
Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
Sources: The homily or sermon uses the opening and closing
illustrations of God's Birthday Gift but, along with the
Prayers of the People goes in a different direction than that
sermon and liturgy.
SERMON: "Pentecost: The Power and Presence of Christ"
Gracious God - bless now the words of my lips and the
meditations of our hearts. Breath your Spirit into us and
grant that we may hear and in hearing be led in the way you
want us to go. Amen.
I heard a story the other day, an amusing story, about a boy who was
wandering around the narthex of a large downtown church one Sunday morning
and stopped and examined a large bronze plaque that was hung on the wall.
"What are all those names up there?" he asked one of the ushers.
"Those are the names of people who died in the service." the usher
Curious, the boy asked the usher
- "which service, the 9:30 service or the 11 o'clock service?"
I am happy to report today that we are about,
what we are celebrating,
is a birth - not a death -
the birth of the church - the birth of Christ
in you and me - and in all who call on his name.
It is a significant day -
the day on which the first believers came alive in their faith,
the day when the Rock upon which Christ planted his church began to
support and uphold an incredible new life -
a life that has existed since the world began,
but which was poured out in a special fashion
and took on flesh in you and me
much as it took life in Jesus, the son of Mary, the son of God
so long ago.
Pentecost is an event that the world has long been promised
and which the people of God have long awaited.
Pentecost is the reversal of what occurred at the Tower of Babel when,
because of our sinfulness,
we became unable to understand one another.
It is the gifting of God to make us one
- and to make us one in the way he is one.
Pentecost is our becoming Christ in the world.
It is God taking on flesh
- not only in the least of those to whom we give water to drink or
clothes to wear;
but taking on flesh in us.
Praise be to God.
God keeps all his promises.
Pentecost gives us the eyes to see and the ears to hear.
The eyes to see that God is in the details,
that God is in the flesh - as well as in the Spirit.
And the ears to hear him speaking in our hearts
and upon the lips of others - in the rush of the wind.
The eyes to see and the ears to hear - as one - and as unique persons
valued and treasured so much by God that God comes to us as we are
and makes us even more truly who we are when we are His.
The story of the birth of the church, of that day some fifty days after the
death and resurrection of Christ Jesus that Jews and Christians call
Pentecost - tells us that this what God has done - and is yet doing.
The followers of Jesus are given the ability to speak the languages of all
those who are assembled in the city and beyond. God grants that we might
understand one another and that we might understand the good news - in just
the way we need to hear it.
Much as God communicates to each one of us here today.
We hear the gospel in our own language,
in our images,
with our own metaphors,
with our own ears.
Some today will be encouraged to spend more time in praise and wonder
to thank God for blessings,
others will hear that the power that they need for tomorrow's trials
and tribulations will come,
still others will take heart - knowing that God is present to them
at all times.
Whatever it is - it will be filled with God - and uniquely yours.
Pentecost is the birth of the Church.
It is God amongst us in power
making us not simply a group of believers
but Christ in the world
bearing the cross out of love,
and being raised from the Grave in glory.
I began with a story - I would like to end with another. One that I pray
that God will use in your life as you meditate upon it from time to time.
It is a very simple, but true story about a man called Yates, but who could
be you and me - and this congregation we call St. Andrew's - or any of a
thousand and one other congregations, a thousand and one other persons.
The story is told of a man called Yates who, during the depression, owned a
sheep ranch in Texas. He did not have enough money to continue paying on
the mortgage - in fact he was forced like many others to live on government
Each day as he tended his sheep he worried about how he was going to
pay his bills. Sometime later a seismographic crew arrived on his
land and said that their might be oil on his land and could they
test drill. After a lease was signed they went ahead.
At 1115 feet a huge oil reserve was struck - subsequent wells
revealed even more oil than the first well revealed. Mr Yates owned
it all. He had the oil and mineral rights. He had been living on
relief - yet he was a millionaire. Think of it - he owned all
that oil with its tremendous potential, yet for many years he did
not realize it.
How often are we like Mr. Yate's? Considering ourselves poor and helpless
all the while unaware of the extraordinary power that we have available to
us - that which is lying just below the surface in our minds and our
We here today are a Pentecost People.
The Spirit has been and is being poured out upon us.
The gift of God is just below the surface in our minds and hearts,
and to the right and to the left of us - above us and below us,
to the front and to the rear.
Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, One,
and blessed be the church which his victory has won. Amen
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE:
Let us pray --- Lord God we thank you for taking on flesh in Christ Jesus
and in us. For the Spirit which gives us life - we thank you God. For the
treasure that you bury within us and the power that you fill us with - we
thank you God. And for the fruit your produce when we are grafted into
your vine - we thank you God... Lord hear prayer...
We praise you today, O God for giving birth to us and for making us your
people. We praise you for the mission you have set upon our hearts and the
tools you have provided for the doing of it... Lord, hear our prayer...
We praise you today, O God, for the visions you grant to us - for the
prophecies you put upon our lips - for the mercies you perform through our
hands - for the guidance you provide us through the gospels and the
apostles and the church founded upon the rock that is Peter - and through
the still small voice that is within. And we pray, O God, that we, seeing
and hearing as you want us to see and hear, may be ones who are also up and
doing as you call us to be up and doing.... Lord hear our prayer...
We bless you today, O God, for you are our God and a Mighty God you are.
Indeed you are the only God, the God who is beyond all gods, the one whose
ways are greater than we can imagine, and who comes among us in ways we can
barely fathom - to be one with us and have us be one with you. Blessed
indeed be your name day by day, and blessed be your church, that all praise
and glory and honour may come to you, Amen and Amen
copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 2002 - 2005
please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.