This is my sermon text for June 4, 2017. It is based on the text from Acts, Acts 2:1-7, 12-18, 41-43, portions of the story of the first Pentecost. I've also included a recording of my message from Nazareth that morning.
I gave all three congregations a "Homework Assignment," a question to ponder this week. What do we do here that is so important for someone to join us? I hope to have some answers to share here soon.
+ rev brc
Peace be with you.
The day of Pentecost – which means 50 days – is a festival of the Jewish church. It is the festival of the booths, & one of three pilgrimage festivals, a festival where people are supposed to come to Jerusalem. That’s why the city is packed with so many people from so many different places.
They hear this commotion. It sounds like a wind storm, a tornado, a hurricane. People rush to see what is going on, From the house at the center of the commotion come a group of men. These men a speaking in a variety of languages. The people who have come from all over to celebrate the festival of booths can hear these men speaking in their native languages. They are bewildered, amazed & astonished. They wonder if these men are drunk.
No. They are filled with the Holy Spirit, which has come as Jesus had promised them. Peter takes the opportunity to proclaim that this is part of what had been promised, that God would pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit.
Of those who are listening, 3,000 believed & were baptized & began to devote themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers .
The 1st act of the empowered, emboldened Spirit-filled disciples was to proclaim the Good News, baptize new believers & form community.
All of this came about because the Holy Spirit came, caused a commotion & people wondered What does this mean?
This question should be familiar to Lutherans. It is the question Martin Luther asks over & over in his Small Catechism. As he explains the parts of the Commandments, Creed & Lord’s Prayer, he continually asks, What does this mean?
So, what does it mean to you? We believe we receive the Holy Spirit in our baptism, and the Spirit is in action in our lives all the time.
In the Apostle’s Creed, (its on page 105 if you want to follow along) when we state our beliefs in God the Father and in Jesus Christ, we list things they’ve done. God created heaven and Earth. Jesus was born, suffered, died, was raised & shall come again. The Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, & the life everlasting.
Are those a list of other things we believe in?
Or are they a list of things that the Holy Spirit does?
Does the Holy Spirit create the holy catholic church? Does the Holy Spirit create the communion of saints? Does the Holy Spirit create the forgiveness of sins? Does the Holy Spirit create the resurrection of the body? Does the Holy Spirit create the life everlasting?
If you believe that, the Holy Spirit is pretty active in the world & in our lives. So, what does that mean to you? Why is it important? What has the Holy Spirit done in your life? Recently, or in the past. Take a moment to talk to the people around you.
That may or may not have been challenging. Did you notice that the work of the Holy Spirit is in community? Did the Spirit urged you to help someone. Did she made you stop & think or pray. (BTW – don’t fixate on a female pronoun.) Did she move you to forgiveness, for yourself or someone else? Did she deepen your faith? Did she inspire a creative spark?
During this summer, for almost all of our services, we’re going to have this conversation time during my message. Because YOU need to be the disciples going to talk to the people in your communities. I’m not going to stop, but you already have a connection. It’s math.
I’ve been here for almost 6 years times 1 hour a week for worship times 50 weeks = 300 hours. If you are in worship that much, you’ve probably served on the Council. So for 2 years of meetings, add 75 hours. Let’s round it up to 400.
If you spent 1 year in school with someone, already spent twice as much time with them. If you worked with someone for a year, you spent 5 times as much time.
I want you to be able to tell of God’s love from personal experience & that’s what we’re going to do here this summer. Hope you come.
Homework for next week – You can write this on an insert, email, text me or give me a note next week. What do we do here that is important enough for someone to want to join us and help us? In other words, what does all this mean?
Let us pray. Lord, we give thanks for you sending your Spirit on the first disciples. Send your spirit on us and embolden & empower us to live out your Good News and proclaim your Gospel in this corner of your kingdom. AMEN>
Pastor Brian's Page
Pastor Brian Robert Campbell has served at Our Savior's and Emmanuel since August 1, 2011, and began serving Nazareth on December 1, 2015.
Pastor Brian is originally from Saginaw, Michigan. He graduated from Alma College with a B.A. in Business Administration, and worked for the Saginaw Public Schools' Community Education Department for 17 years before answering the call to ministry. He graduated with a M. Div. from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2011. ONE in Christ Lutheran Parish is his first call.
He is the only child of Robert and Charlotte Campbell, both who have entered the Church Eternal.
He is accompanied in ministry by his faithful bulldogge Ananias, who regularly writes for our newsletter. His articles are archived here.
He is a fan of sports teams from his native Michigan, especially the Tigers and the Lions. But we tolerate him despite that.
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