Watching for the Morning of June 4, 2017
The Festival of Pentecost
Into a world filled with many destructive and deceitful spirits, God lavishes his life-giving, creative and transforming Spirit on the world. It is a holy spirit, unlike the spirits of anger, intolerance, revenge, desire, greed and hate that divide the world and fill it with violence and invective. It gathers a community of all nations. It speaks to the core of our hearts in our native tongue. It summons us to step onto the shores of the new creation, to be washed in the Spirit, to be participants in the life of the age to come. It is a spirit that bears the fruit of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
It is a spirit that inspires and empowers fidelity to God and neighbor. It is a spirit that teaches manifold forgiveness and love of enemies. It is a spirit that leads us to lives of service and sacrifice. It is a spirit that binds and heals, a spirit that sings and rejoices, a spirit that prays and praises, a spirit that speaks grace to the world.
We have seen it in Moses and the prophets. We have seen it in the skill of Bezalel. We have seen it in the courage of Gideon, the poetry of David, the song of Mary. We have seen it in the fidelity of Simeon and witness of Anna. We have seen it the forgiveness of Stephen and the generosity of Barnabas. We have seen it in the boldness of Philip and the obedience of Peter. We have seen it in the lives of those recognize as saints and martyrs. We have seen it in the kindness and generosity and faithfulness of any number of people who have touched our lives with grace and truth.
We have seen it wherever love prevails.
It is the Spirit given to us in Christ now.
It is the Spirit by which we are called to live.
(For those who follow this blog regularly, I apologize for the paucity of recent posts. Writing time has been taken up by the special preaching series underway in our parish.)
The Prayer for June 4, 2017
O God of every nation,
who by the breath of your Spirit gave life to the world
and anointed Jesus to bring new birth to all:
breathe anew upon us and upon all who gather in your name,
that in every place and to all people
we may proclaim your wondrous work;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
The Texts for June 4, 2017
Pentecost Reading: Acts 2:1-21
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” – With the sound of wind and the image of fire, evoking God’s appearance at Sinai and fulfilling the promise of Joel, God pours out the Holy Spirit upon the first believers.
First Reading: Numbers 11:24-30
“The Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to [Moses], and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders.” – When the burden of hearing every complaint of the people in the wilderness becomes too great for Moses, God has him appoint seventy elders to receive a share of the spirit. The text contains the prophetic remark of Moses “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!”
Psalmody: Psalm 104:24-31 (assigned: 104:24-34, 35b)
“When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.” – In a psalm celebrating the wonders of creation, the poet marvels at the manifold creatures of the world, and the breath/spirit of God that gives them life.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-13 (assigned: 12:3b-13)
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” – Paul teaches the troubled Corinthian congregation about the gifts of the Spirit, emphasizing that they are given for God’s purpose to the benefit of others.
Gospel: John 7:37-39
“‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive – During the celebration that prays for the autumn rains and remembers Ezekiel’s promise of a life-giving river flowing from the temple, Jesus calls those who are thirsty to come to him.
(Our parish uses the alternate Gospel reading for Pentecost because the text from John 20 was used on the second Sunday of Easter.)
“‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this he breathed on them and said ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” – On the evening of that first day of the week, the risen Christ commissions his followers and anoints them with the Spirit.