Summary: Sometimes I believe we view Pentecost as a four letter word.
Sermon for Matthew 7:21-29
June, 1st 2008
Today is the third Sunday after Pentecost. Pentecost by far is the longest of the church seasons—spanning a total of 26 weeks, half of the church year, now all the way up to Advent. Why so long you might ask? Well I am always pleased when you guys ask good questions.
If one examines the church year, one might notice that it kicks of with Advent—the coming/arrival of Jesus the Christ. Then for the next six months we closely examine the Work of God through Jesus—with Christmas Season, Epiphany—or making known, the Transfiguration, to Lent, Holy Week, and climaxing with the best news the world has ever known in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior—giving to you what the world may promise but has no authority to offer—Life here and now—Eternal life in the future!
Then on Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the out-pouring of God’s Spirit of life and power upon the chosen disciples, upon you and I. And so the remaining six months invite you and I to a solid foundation focusing upon the Work of the Church and our Christian Lives. Focusing upon the Rock of Jesus’ words, the ground of faith, which no flood can float away and no wind can blow down. Pentecost basically teaches us that through the power of God’s Spirit we have much work to do in our own lives and in His church.
It’s odd however, but it should not surprise any of us, that during the first six months of the church year when we focus upon the Work of God through Christ the churches are more full, than at a time when the focus shifts to our efforts and power of the Spirit.
Sometimes I believe we view Pentecost as a four letter word. Well actually it’s closer to a six letter word, but it might as well be a four letter word because it makes people cringe when they hear it. The word is—brace yourself—Change—CHANGE! You made have heard this one…How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb? The question cannot be answered, because it involves change. But seriously, there may be some truth to that.
You see the smallest changes in our lives, we don’t normally like. But folks that what Pentecost is all about—that’s what the Spirit of God is all about. It is about change in capital letters, CHANGE!
If you read through the Bible, remember Martin Luther gave you this opportunity—take advantage of it. But if you read through Genesis to Revelation, and you examine the work of the God’s Spirit—Wind, Breath, Ruah, Pnema you will notice that each and every single time the Spirit evokes Change. Spirit—Change! No Spirit—No Change! No Change—No Spirit!
And folks that’s what the next six months of Pentecost is all about. The Spirit of God! Change for the better! Change in our lives and in our Church! Yes we have OUR work cut out for us.
I have a theory that I use sometimes on my wife Sandy. When she gets upset with me, especially when she really gets upset with me, that’s when I tell her something else that I know she’s most likely eventually discover, and then will be upset with me again. I figure that if she is just about as mad as she can get, I might as well use the opportunity to my advantage and clear my slate. After all, she probably going to focus her anger on only one of two, and can’t really get any more upset than she already is. Makes sense uh?
Well today I’m going to test this theory within the walls of Gloria Dei.
I want all of you able bodied people, notice I said able—if you have trouble moving around stay right where you are at, I’ll come up with something later to make you feel uncomfortable, so you don’t feel left out, but if you are able I want everyone to switch sides of the church. Seriously, I’ll wait. Not only switch sides, but if you’re a fronty type of person, go rear, and visa versa.
Ok, did that make anybody a little uncomfortable? Feels a little weird? Maybe even a few of you are upset with me. Good! Because now I’m going to test my theory and deal with some meaningful changes brought up today through the Holy Scriptures. These changes of Pentecost will perhaps make you even more uncomfortable, but hopefully you can’t get any more upset than you already are—or maybe its good that my theory fails, and you do get more upset.
However, there is no reason to be mad at me, I’m only the messenger. The words I share are from three very influential beings. The first is from God, the second is from the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, and finally from the greatest of the apostles, words of wisdom from Paul. So if you do get upset with the changes called for, direct your attention to God, not me. Please remember however, these teachings are meant to stir up the Spirit of Change and save your life, not condemn it.