Saturday, May 23, 2015

Invite, Transform and Send: Thoughts for Pentecost (24 May 2015)

Sunday, 24 May, at 22.00

Dear Readers,

Every once and a while I realize that I do not like what I have written or sketched.  This happened on Pentecost.  I drew a little from my posted notes, but I decided to speak extemporaneously on Ezekiel, Acts and Saint Faith's.

Click here to listen to what I preached on Pentecost at the 10.00 a.m. Eucharist.


Saturday, 23 May, at 20.00

Dear Friends,

I am afraid that the press of business, including our last annual Synod (next Synod in 2017), means that you're only getting my notes.  I'll post an audio file by Monday.  Blessings.


RCL Pentecost B
24 May 2015

Saint Faith’s Anglican Church
Vancouver BC

1)   Fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, Jews from all over the Mediterranean world gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot, the feast that commemorates God giving the Law to the Hebrew people in the wilderness of Sinai.

a)    Their celebration may have been influenced by “ . . . a Jewish tradition which claimed that the voice of God, mediated by flames of fire, was . . .  addressed to all the peoples of the world, but was rejected by all except Israel which accepted the Law.”  (The New Jerusalem Bible 1985, 1801)
b)   Nevertheless, it was a time when Jews throughout the Roman world remembered that they were the people with whom the Holy One, the Creator of all things, entered into an eternal covenant with them.

2)   In Jerusalem there was a community that we are told numbered about one hundred and twenty.

a)    This community had been invited by Jesus, through his words and deeds, to join in a movement that dared to proclaim that God was doing a new thing and that the ‘end’ times were coming.
b)   For three years many of these people had followed Jesus throughout the Roman province of Galilee and the petty kingdoms that the Romans had allowed to exercise some degree of autonomy.  During those years the followers of Jesus had been transformed into agents who had caught a glimpse of the world God had in mind from the beginning of time.
c)    As they gathered in secret on this day of Pentecost, these agents of Jesus’ movement experienced yet one more extraordinary moment.   They were empowered by the Spirit and sent out

i)     to continue Jesus’ mission throughout the world and
ii)   to invite others to share in this mission.

3)   Today, almost two thousand years later, we join Christians throughout the world in remembering these events.

a)    Just as the first disciples were invited to join Jesus, you and I, whether when we younger or older, were invited to cross the threshold of the Christian community and to join the movement.
b)   Once we crossed that threshold, we entered a community of transformation where we learned, are learning and continue to learn

i)     to become more fully alive and
ii)   to become agents of God’s mission, begun in creation and shared with people of faith for millennia.

c)    And then, in one way or another, we have been commissioned, sent out in companionship with God and our sisters and brothers in the faith,

i)     to do justice,
ii)   to love steadfastly,
iii) to walk humbly with God
iv) but as importantly, to invite others to join us in God’s mission of reconciliation, renewal and joy.

4)   Pentecost is not a day when we focus on strange manifestations, but rather it is a day when we celebrate God’s invitation extended to us, God’s transformation active in us and God’s commission given to us to participate in the healing of creation and the liberation of all the creatures of God.

a)    Nine months ago Paul was invited to join us as a diaconal intern.

i)     In ways we cannot yet assess, Paul has been transformed but so have we!
ii)   Today we send Paul out to write the next chapter of God’s story as it will be told through his life and ministry as a deacon of the church.

b)   Today we, the Christian community of Saint Faith, celebrate the work God has given us to do:

i)     to invite others to cross the threshold of our community,
ii)   so that they may be transformed by the fullness of life God offers us all and become agents of God,
iii) sent forth to spread the good news of God in Jesus.

c)    Invite.  Transform.  Send.  Day after day.  Week after week.  Year after year.  Decade after decade.  Century after century.  Millennium after millennium.  Until the Day of Promise dawns and all creation knows the glorious freedom of the children of God.

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