Sermon Blog by Rev. Brent Neumann for Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020

   by Brent Neumann

Day 82

May the words of my mouth the meditations of our hearts be always acceptable to you our Lord and Redeemer.

Today, we are celebrating Pentecost. That day in the year when we celebrate the Holy Spirit being given to us by Christ. It could not have been bestowed on us without Christ leaving our midst. We use the colour red to symbolize the passion that comes when we are fully within and held by the Holy Spirit. Red is the identification of the passion within all of us through the Holy Spirit. Our readings this morning speak about this event. The first reading is out of the book of Acts where the disciples are in their own locked room in hiding. The sound of the rushing wind that was around the eleven. The tongue of fire that came down and split, landing on each on of their heads.

After that happened, they all started to speak in foreign languages, using speech in ways that should never have known. They were fully engaged and part of this movement within themselves. People gathered around them in awe, and perplexity, and some simply rejected the event stating, ‘they are simply drunk!’ They were reassured by the disciples that they were not drunk, that it was only 9 am; rather, this was the ecstatic utterance of Christ within them.

We move from there into the reading from 1st Corinthians. We are exploring the gifts that come from the spirit. It is talking about the gifts of the spirit being different for each of us; how this gift raises different things for each of us. It can be held, experienced, and brings forth responses that can be very individualistic. Yet, this is the place where we are called to be. It makes for a full expression of health in the community. It is in the collective that makes all of us strong as a community.

Finally, we move into the gospel of John where Christ is teaching his disciples about the Holy Spirit. Helping them to know, understand and what to expect when Christ is no longer in their midst.

Being in the Holy Spirit is something that some will always struggle with. Some will get what this means, while others will simply acknowledge without fully engaging in allowing Christ to fully enter them. I found myself reflecting on the aspect of our society that states that everything must be rational, and/or scientific. The problem is that the concept of the Holy Spirit takes that concept and throws it out the window. Because it moves in us in an entirely different way, it creates different responses in us, and it is not a rational, scientific process. For us, we do not fully understand how it enters, how or why it exists. We have trouble finding the language to adequately express our experience and allow us to be unique in who we are.

If we take the time and open ourselves fully to this experience, it can teach us so much about our lives and about who we are. It teaches us about what it means to be in relationship with Christ. It teaches us about the things that we need to pay attention to in our own lives that will flesh out our own understandings of ourselves. As we walk in our faith, the Holy Spirit will lead us.

The Holy Spirit will continually encourage us to move closer to God. The problem is that sometimes that movement seems erroneous. It can move us in ways that do not make sense to those around us. It will call us to make choices that will often times seem crazy to those around us. I can remember when I started to talk about the Call with my family. The reaction was one of astonishment, and some sense of ‘are you crazy?!’ – yet that is how the Holy Spirit moves. It forces us to recognise that this is how the spirit moves and brings new awareness to us and holds us. This place of discerning what the Holy Spirit is calling out to us is something all of us are called to engage in.

That movement can feel devastatingly painful, particularly when we are being called to see something within us that we would rather not see or be engaged in the world in ways that we would rather not have to feel. This activity within us can reduce us to a puddle. Yet at the same time, after the event, we can recognise how important this insight is to us and how precious the gift is that comes from and through that experience. That will hold us when everything around us is in chaos.

In our new way of being right now… in this new reality that we are experiencing, the Holy Spirit is the one thing that is consistent for all of us. Those who aren’t with us while we are worshipping here in this parish; those who are isolated in homes; those who are in senior residence; those who are left to their own devices are those who need the Holy Spirit right now.

This entity is something that we allow to be in our hearts, in our souls, in the essence of our being. It is the place where we can draw on when we need courage, to find hope, to live fearlessly in the face of fear. It is the thing that will hold us firm in our faith. During this time-period as a parish, this realization is so important for all of us. As we worship together individually, personally, on-line, reading and reflection. This is the thing that allows all of us to connect in a way that could not be achieved without the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is incredibly important and a central theme in our faith life. It is the ongoing gift available to all, something that we can give praise and thanksgiving for.

Thanks be to God.