Monday, May 09, 2016

The Fisherman's Net for the Feast of Pentecost, Year C

This Sunday's Readings:
Breaking Open the Word:

The Acts of the Apostles:
Reading the passage, we might just get caught up in the miraculous today...the awesome adventure that is the moment of the arrival of the Holy Spirit in that upper room. A burst of wind, divided tongues like fire alighting on the heads of those present (and yet their hair and the men's beards don't burn!), and finally a collection of simple folk suddenly start speaking in all of the tongues of the nations as the proclaim the good news. So easy...but if we focus only on that drama, we miss something else that connects us to deeper meanings and more profound challenges as we accept the mantle of "church" in the world as the Body of Christ. Peter challenges all who doubt, wonder (and while some sneer), with an admonition as he quotes from the prophet Joel. What does all this mean? THIS is the day of the Lord. TODAY is God's will and presence being made fully known. HERE is the place where the jubilee of God is actually taking place. THIS IS IT!!!

The Letter of Paul to the Romans:
What does Pentecost REALLY mean? We are not just beloved of God....we are adopted BY God as heirs of the Kingdom. What is required of us? To be led...by the Spirit. Simple, challenging and life-altering!

The Gospel of John:
This is a deep challenge to the whole Church..."Show us" is usually our expression in this life, when we forget that Jesus has shown us. Instead? Our calling as the Church is not to be shown, but to show the love and presence of God in the world. We do that in praise and worship, in our deepest commitments to continual formation to be reformed again and again in God's love and to serve all around us as witnesses of the faith of our forbears. We don't lose heart, we do press on.

Psalm 104: 25-35, 37:
You know what? God really is all that. God is the one who formed all the wonders of the world we can experience. God is the one who formed us, and gave us the gifts of perception that allow us to see and to wonder at the grace of God filling the whole of creation.

How It All Links Up:
El Greco's "Pentecost"
A deep reading of the texts for Pentecost lift up and celebrate of the same values of connection to God and the holy that are found in its "origin feast" of the Jewish festival of Shavuot. We are about teaching and learning how to love each other in the renewal of life that God's intention to be in relationship with us. For Shavuot, it is a feast of the offering of the first fruits of the fields and paddocks even as it is a commemoration of the giving of the Torah on Sinai. For Christians, it is the celebration that God's Holy Spirit is always with us, in all that we do and in every aspect of who we are.

Taking Meaning:
What gets you up and going in the morning? For most folks, it's a gulp of coffee, or some exercise....or even just a few moments of quiet self-collection to prepare for the day. Something motivates you to go from horizontal to vertical....even if it is just an act of will....and yet we use that emphasis day to day to get going. What keeps us going? A sense of purpose, usually. A sense of duty...or a sense of connection to something greater than ourself. Very little is sustainable as effort when there is not a vision, a set of relationships, of inspiration in place. Pentecost is that very thing for the Church. It is the motivation to get up and get going, every day. It is the provocation to live our lives out there in the world with purpose and in relationship to others who walk about as beloved in God's creation. It is the inspiration, the filling with breath, that gives us life and that gives life meaning. So, what is holding you back from making this day your own personal Pentecost?

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