May 15, 2016 “The Spark”

SCRIPTURE:  Acts 2:1-42

MESSAGE    “The Spark”

Pentecost Sunday is always a lot of fun, with bright red, yellow and orange colors, a happy confusion of different languages, and imaginary tongues of fire and heavy wind blowing through the sanctuary.  It takes us back to the first Pentecost long ago when the lost and confused followers of Jesus found their spiritual spark after the resurrection and headed out into the world with something very important to share.  Some even consider Pentecost to be the birthday of the Christian Church!

But that may be stretching it quite a bit.  The first Christians did not immediately create a modern church with buildings, budgets, and by-laws.  They were a movement of inspired people eager to give and receive everything about Jesus Christ.  They had no church buildings so they met in homes, at the market place, and in Rome they met in the “Catacombs” (the underground sewer).  At one point in the Acts of the Apostles the first Christians are described as people belonging to “The Way”, a far cry from the kind of institutional churches that we have today.

In the course of our lives we have been present many times when groups of inspired people began to organize themselves into long-term projects or organizations.  Almost immediately we get to writing mission statements, selecting officers, establishing financial procedures and all of the things that responsible organizations do.  But it comes with a cost, because the vision and passion that first brought the group together begins to give way to the needs of sustaining an institution.

So Pentecost is a reminder of the spirit, vision and passion from which we began.  It’s not a nostalgic event, remembering how things used to be long ago, but a moment to re-connect with the spark that got us on The Way in the first place.

On Pentecost, if you like, you can dress in red, carry a portable fan, and memorize praises in Turkish or Korean, but the best way to mark the day is to relive the moments when the spark of faith has touched you.

Did you bring a Spark today?  Not sure what I mean?  I don’t want to overly define it.  So think of a spark – held in your hands, sitting on your shoulder, deep in your mind, a warm spot in your heart or soul.

How did you get that spark?  When did you get it? Where did you get it? What was the key moment or experience that got you into a life of faith?

What does it look like? What do you do with it? What is happening with that spark right now, today?

(Members of the congregation shared their “sparks” during this time)

Maybe it was during a stirring song, a moment of crisis, a difficult hospital visit, a beautiful wedding, holding a baby in your arms, a beautiful park, a Sunday School class, a retreat, while reading a book, hearing a preacher, viewing a work of art, or in a time of prayer.  And if you have not yet felt that spark … be ready, because anything can happen on Pentecost!

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