Pentecost Sunday

On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in Me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)

John 7:37-39 – The Message

 

What a strange Pentecost Sunday! It seems that we would be able to celebrate the Birthday of the Church, the day when the disciples were touched by the Holy Spirit and were able to go and spread the Gospel in a way that all nations and languages could understand. But it is difficult to celebrate when the world is crying out and is in shambles.

I am disturbed by not one pandemic but two. This viral pandemic is crippling to so many who are overworked in unsafe conditions and to those who are out of work, as well as deadly to over 104,000 in the U.S. alone (and counting). Still, there is another pandemic in our midst; this one is crippling our integrity; our goodwill; our humanity and causing senseless death and destruction throughout our nation.

How is it possible that I could wake up one morning and hear of an officer with his knee on a man’s neck? How is it that there were three other officers assisting him? How is it that any one of us could righteously, quietly, weigh in on this act with opinions and spin some “story” of justification? Have we lost our minds? What happened to George Floyd was nothing less than an abomination! There is no excuse! And the pain, mayhem and destruction that has followed and become physically viral in other cities in these United States should be of no surprise!

In this season of Pentecost, I have many questions. My heart is aching and I pray yours is, too! How will all of this end? Where is the leadership? How is it that those who have the same skin color as mine get to wield power over those who look and sound different? What has this country come to? How could we ever begin to apologize for our part in any act that degrades or harms another whose color, orientation, race or any minority in this country. In this moment, I feel like Isaiah, “Woe is me!”

Still, maybe this is exactly where to begin: with apology and accountability and affirming my own inhumanity. I don’t know how all of this will come to an end (How can it end? Is it even possible for a good ending?) I just don’t know at this moment. What I do know, as Christ’s disciple, is that I must begin! And I must begin first and foremost in prayer! Many of us have learned what prayer does to us and for us. Prayer is an open airway to God. Prayer is the way to hear from God…His desires for our life. Prayer causes us to focus our hearts and minds on the subject of our prayer. Prayer moves us to action (if we are brave enough).

In John 7, the Gospel writer brings us to Jesus at the Festival of Booths (commemorating God’s provision for the Israelites while they wandered in the desert for forty years). This seven-day festival came around the fall, near the end of harvest. The High Priest, Levites, worshippers and crowds would gather…thousands of people, to give God thanks for providing water and light in the dark days in the wilderness and ask that they would know salvation. On the last great day of the festival, Jesus stands and cries out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in Me this way, just as the Scripture says.”

Oh sisters and brothers, in this Pentecost week as we remember the Birthday of the Church, I say: cry out to God. Cry out: “Save us!” And then, expect that the Rivers of Living Water, Christ in us, will stream from us as we pray, especially as Christians, for those who are marginalized! Pray, “No More Hate!” Pray, “Repentance for racist views!” Pray “Healing and forgiveness when the world says, ‘Who Cares’! Pray in sorrow for how we have come to this place. Pray mercy and justice for the black and brown; homosexuals; undocumented immigrants; those underpaid and underserved; homeless veterans and the mentally ill…and the list goes on. And pray for their families. Pray for all of these who are vulnerable to a national mindset that has become privileged and entitled! Pray to become thirsty – parched; and, to ache to drink for the “Rivers of Living Water”…to bask in the Word for Jesus. Pray that Cason will say, “ENOUGH” and outdo each other in doing good and speaking good to each other and about others. We are empowered by the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sustainer! In situations like this, it seems we can’t do much! But when I stop and think, I know I can do much more because I am His! And His Living Water flows out of me and His Living Water is healing! Come Holy Spirit!

With more love in my heart for you than you know and just wanting to be better –

Joy, joy amidst the storm…


2 Responses to “Pentecost Sunday”

  1. Betty W. Crane says:

    I was going to text you and tell you what a wonderful message.
    As I was listening and thinking to myself, this is a message everyone should hear and take heed. Very well spoken.

  2. Linda Weiss says:

    Thanks for your beautiful, explicit direction as to what to do. PRAY! We all need to pray Gods will for our lives and our country. So I’m going to continue to read and pray praise & worship scriptures. I will keep my focus on what would Jesus want me to do. And, I’m going to ask Him what can I do to help. I can love my neighbors as myself, I can help others as is needed. I can stand up for Jesus and tell others of His mighty love and forgiveness. I can do small acts of kindness like John Wesley suggested.
    And I will keep my mind free from worry by being faithful to God.
    Thanks for being such a wonderful pastor! I see Christ in you! Thanks!
    May God bless you always
    Love Linda

Leave a Reply

^