Summary: PENTECOST 21, YEAR C - We need to be Fill with the Spirit to do the Work of God.
A man walks into a restaurant and takes a seat. A waiter approaches him and asks, “What would you like sir?” The customer replies, “I would like a rotting egg, a bowl of extra greasy chips and a burnt sausage?” In shock the waiter responds, “But sir I could never give such awful food.” To which the customer states, “Why not, you did yesterday.” Do you ever wonder what ever happened to customer service? You go into a store to shop, but you don’t see what you need, so you ask an employee if the item can be ordered? and they say, “I’m sorry but we have no control over our inventory, the main office decides what we are to stock.” So you are forced to buy not what you wanted but what the store had in stock. Then when the item doesn’t work you call the service number but instead of getting an operator you must instead listen through a long list of directions and number pushing. And still your questions go unanswered. What ever happened to customer service? There used to be a day when you drove into a gas station and an energetic young man would walk up to your car and while cleaning your windows free of charge would ask, “Fill Her Up?” So has the day of customer service, the day when the customer came first, passed us by? Not on your life says the prophet Joel. Speaking on behalf of the creator of Heaven and Earth the prophet Joel declares, “Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains.” Joel wishes to remind us that when it comes to the Lord our God, customer service has never been better. God continues to provide blessings upon blessings, day in and day out. Our country is going through a difficult time. A time filled with fear and doubt. We wonder if it’s safe to go to work, to open our mail, to trust our neighbors. But even in the midst of all this trauma and terror we all still get up each morning expecting the sun to rise, the seasons to change, and the earth to orbit the sun.
In ages past God signed a contract with His people, the Bible calls it a covenant. A contract that bound a people to one God and the one and only God to those He had chosen to be His people. The covenant stated that if we would worship God and only God and obey His commandments then God would look after us and provide for us all that we needed for life and liberty. At first we said “Yes” but later we changed our minds. And so today we all live in a world that has chosen to turned away from God’s way, to go instead our own way. And yet God has continued from the first day of creation to keep His part of the covenant to provide us with His gift of life. Though we have all denied Him He still acknowledges us as his children. Though we have all turned our backs on Him He continues to seek us out. Though this human customer is always in the wrong, God has not stopped providing us the best divine service on this earth. During the Passover Meal every year faithful Jews sing a song called Dayenu which means “It would have been enough” When I say Dayenu, you repeat the line “It would have been enough” Rejoice, and give thanks to the Almighty for the great things done for us. Had God brought us out from Egypt and not executed judgment on them. Dayenu, It would have been enough! Had God executed judgment on them and not parted the Red Sea for us. Dayenu, It would have been enough! Had God parted the Red Sea for us and not brought us through dry shod. Dayenu, It would have been enough! For fifteen lines the song recalls how God had lead the Jewish people from being slaves in Egypt to become the people of God. Once they were not God’s people but now they were because God had fulfilled the promise he had made to Abraham. But what God had promised was but the beginning of what God had in mind for those who would be His people. For through the prophet Joel God also promised that in some future time
‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.