Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Preachers Study - The Day of Pentecost

Monday morning in the Preacher's Study

First thoughts about next Sunday's sermon (Pentecost Year C)
Todd Townshend

There are so many things to be said about the possibilities offered in our celebration of the Day of Pentecost—primarily, that all possibility for us, as Christians, is rooted in the movement of the Holy Spirit.
One element of the celebration which we may choose to de-emphasize is that Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. As we struggle against our (sinful) tendency to make it all about us, why not make the day instead about God? What did God do on the day of Pentecost and how is it like and unlike what God is doing now?
Perhaps, as we lean away from an overly strong focus on the human beings, we could mix things up in a sermon taking our cue from the Sunday following – Trinity Sunday. Without filling the air with words that we learned in our theology books, without delving too deeply into theological explanations of our Triune God, preachers have an opportunity to evoke meaning from a celebration which says, “the Spirit gives birth" or, “Jesus gives life to the dead” or, “the Creator breathes and we are filled with that Spirit,” or, “here begins God’s creative reclamation”, or “the Spirit is animating your charismata!”—now what in the world does that mean, and what does that look like today, now, for me, for us?
These are some very bold, strong, astonishing texts. Storm winds, fire, bestowal of impossible gifts, all sent/given so that we will know for ourselves the power of life over death.  Our mission is, in part, to take in “the breath of the resurrection” and to “go tell / go live”.  Now preachers, please help us to see something— what in the world this action-of-God might mean, what it looks like today, now, for me, for us?

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