SCRIPTURE Acts 2 I will 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.
MESSAGE / SACRAMENT OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
“It’s Pouring” Rev. James Renfrew
If I tell you that it’s going to be pouring today, you know what to do: shut the windows in the house, roll up the windows in the car, find the umbrella, look for a raincoat, put on boots and rubbers, because it’s going to be very wet outside.
So, yes it’s going to be pouring today, but you won’t need to close the windows, get out the umbrella, put on a raincoat or pull on boots, because, of course, it’s Pentecost! Not pouring rain, but God pouring the Spirit into our lives, into your lives and mine. It’s going to be a heavy downpour because God never holds back.
If anything, open the windows, fold up the umbrella, and put the raincoat and boots in the closet, because we WANT to get soaked by this mighty, awesome, life-changing Spirit. Soaked not by water, but by love, by hope, by peace, by healing, by everything that God offers to fill our every need.
The story of Pentecost in the Book of Acts begins by saying that they were all in the house, maybe in a room like the one we’re in. There were 120 of them, as we read in last week’s reading from Acts. We could easily fit 120 people in here. My impression is that everyone was there because they were waiting for, hoping for, praying for the next thing God would do. They were looking for purpose, directions, next steps. Yes, 50 days before they had experienced the resurrection of Jesus on Easter, but they still hadn’t figured out what to do about that. It was a life-changing moment, but they weren’t sure what to do with it. Stay there in Jerusalem, go back home, or do something else? They weren’t sure.
When I saw that today we would be celebrating Pentecost at the same time as communion, I was initially perplexed, “how can we do that?”, I asked myself. “It seems like way too much to handle in one service!”
But after thinking it through it really makes perfect sense, because every time we share the bread and the cup God always adds some powerful Spirit to our experience. Not just a touch of Spirit, or a taste of the Spirit, o a hint of the Spirit, or the rumor of the Spirit, but a good soaking of the Spirit.
When you think of it, the Last Supper is almost too simple. Break the bread, share the cup. It doesn’t seem like much can happen with that simplicity. So, yes, it’s the presence and participation of God’s Spirit that brings the simple meal to life, filled with possibility and purpose.
This Spirit is what God offers, but we easily miss it because we have trouble seeing beyond the loaf and the cup. Yes, it’s a simple meal, but it is full of complication, complexity, possibilities, wonder and joy, the whole experience completed by God’s powerful Spirit touching each one like a little tongue of flame.
You know, in my case, early on in life I had looked for the tongue of flame, but when I looked for it hovering over my head I didn’t see it at all. It took some time for me to realize that God had lit that flame under me! A spark to get me jumping out of my seat, out of my comfort zone, more ready than I could have ever imagined to get involved in God’s plans and purposes. It took me a little while to feel the spark.
With that Spirit at work in and around us, that simple bread which is barely enough to feed the people in church this morning becomes enough to feed the world. With that Spirit alive and well at the Table that simple cup, only enough for all of us to have only a small sip becomes enough to pour the love of Jesus Christ into the whole world.
Last week I revealed that my first calling was to be a mathematician. I loved algebra, trig, calculus because I liked the certainty that two plus two always equals four. But now I have come to embrace God’s mathematics. With the powerful spirit two plus two can equal five, or six or a hundred, a thousand, or a million, because the Spirit is always large enough to include you, when you are close by and even when you are far away, large enough to include you when you are at your best, but amazingly also when you are at your worst, large enough to include you when you are blessed with everything that you need, but especially when you lack. The Spirit is always large enough.
Jesus was at the table. He offered some simple words, and he offered a simple meal. It looks simple, but it’s a moment when the Spirit begins pouring it all … into you, into me, into the whole world.
Dear God, our hearts, minds and souls are open to everything you offer in Jesus Christ. He broke the bread and shared the cup long, long ago, but , by your living Spirit, we receive it all today. Bless us all. Amen.
This is my body, broken for you.
This is my blood, for the whole world.
And on Pentecost, this is my Spirit, pouring into your lives. Take, eat, drink, live!
Dear God, we enjoy your living Spirit, seen by us in tongues of fire, mighty winds, and loud noise, all getting our attention like never before. Our eyes are open, our hearts are ready. Keep showing us signs of your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.