Summary: A sermon for Pentecost.
“It’s Too Early To Get Drunk!”
by: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
The first Christian Church was a motley crew, if there ever was one!!!
If there ever was a more ‘messy’ looking group of people, this was it!
These folks came from just about every walk of life, speaking all kinds of different languages.
There is no way they could get along—let alone thrive and grow together!
Imagine, both Jews and converts to Judaism calling one another “brother”; “sister.”
Imagine Arabs and Israelites coming together in love for one another…
…breaking bread together, praying together, eating in one another’s homes, praising God together, and having everything in common!
John Lennon once sang,
“Imagine all the people living life in peace…
…Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…
You may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one,
I hope someday you’ll join us,
And the world will live as one”
These are provocative lyrics.
But when Lennon wrote them down—whether he was aware of it or not—they were not unique.
For this dream of persons living in the common bond of love and community sprang from God—from the very beginning of creation!
That was what was going on in the Garden of Eden before original sin.
And that is what is being renewed in the New Creation that we call the Church beginning right here in the Book of Acts at Pentecost.
When God poured out God’s Holy Spirit it was a signal to the world that the original order of things was returning, that God’s plan for the salvation of the world had entered a new stage and things would never be the same again!
The Christian Church is God’s Kingdom on this earth!
It is a conglomeration of ‘messy people’—who are trying to heed the call of God on their lives.
And we are called to take the great risk of giving everything we are and everything we have to Jesus Christ for the good of all and for the transformation of the world!
It may sound like a crazy idea.
We may be tempted to reply, “You must be drunk or something!”
It may sound like the dream of a naïve people, but it is not.
It is God’s dream, and when we take the leap of faith in order to become part of the New Creation, which is the Church—we enter that dream!
What a privileged place to be!
What a joy!
What a reason to celebrate!
What a reason to live!
What a reason to continue the journey!
On the day of the Jewish festival of Pentecost some 2,000 years ago there were 120 women and men whom the Bible describes as “believers.”
Many of them had lived and followed Jesus for quite a while.
They had watched Jesus love persons—all kinds of ‘messy persons’ in ways that no one else had ever loved before.
They had witnessed with their own eyes—miracles of healing and transformation.
They had heard Jesus describe, countless times, a Kingdom where unconditional love was the standard bearer and God was the One who was fair and just and kind and merciful.
They heard about the dream, they even caught glimpses of it…
…they became addicted to the excitement of it…
…but they didn’t really understand it.
Then the day came when their Leader was arrested, taken from them and murdered in the most cruel and demeaning of ways!
It scared them to death and seemed to smash their hopes and the dream…
…but only for a few days…
…because this same Jesus Who they had come to love and adore, despite the fact that they did not fully understand Him or His message…
…came back to life and lived among them once more.
Then, after 40 days Jesus left them again.
But not before giving them these instructions, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
They didn’t have a clue what Jesus was talking about, but they waited none the less…
…this little band of funny folks…
…former prostitutes, tax collectors, blue collar fisherman, folks who had once been lame and crippled, people who had been demon possessed and lepers, persons who had been despised and shunned by the world!...
…they trusted and dared believe what they did not understand.
I have an inkling that they waited because they believed that what Jesus had promised them—whatever that might be—would be good and right and just, quite wonderful actually!