On Fire - Reflections 5-16-18

 For the Day of Pentecost
 May 20, 2018

 Acts 2:1-21
 Psalm 104:24-34
 Romans 8:22-27
 John 15:26-27

This Sunday, the Church celebrates the Holy Spirit as it rekindles believers - fire and wind poured out like water upon the disciples. 

Christians call it Pentecost because it is 50 days after Easter - a “Week of weeks”.  It’s a fun day - people dress in red, sometimes there are red balloons, sometimes there are red flowers, sometimes there are red streamers flying around. 

This year, Gloria Dei is celebrating with a service of hymns and poetry. One of the poems from the service is by Edward Hays from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim. 

From the poem - 
Wind of inspiration, Creative Spirit of God, teach me not to forget that you come always as gift.

Jesus promised the Spirit. The only thing the disciples were to do was to wait…together. And then suddenly without warning, the Spirit whooshed in like a gale force wind; it appeared as abruptly as a wildfire in dry grass. The Greek word for “tongues” can also mean “languages”. Single flames of languages acted like fire as the Spirit blazed through the crowd…beyond today’s reading we hear that 3000 of those who heard the disciples were baptized and became believers.

Remind me with your every movement that history has shown clearly how you are the private property of none…

Judaism also celebrates this same day sometimes using this same name, Pentecost, because it is 50 days after the Passover, aka Shavu’ot, the Festival of Weeks. In addition to being a harvest festival of “First Fruits”, the day celebrates the giving of the Torah. In fact, there is a calendar count down between Passover and Shavu'ot to emphasis the connection between Passover and the giving of the Torah (think wilderness walking). 

Lift me up above my selfish interests, spreading my concerns wider than myself...

The Spirit puts us into community. After those 3000 were baptized, the story in Acts reports that Christ’s followers stayed together and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and spread out the money to all as needed. They spent time together in worship and time together eating. Their goodwill was contagious and the numbers continued to grow. 
The Spirit swept over a few believers 2000 + years ago and has become a community over 2 billion followers of Christ in service to the world.

Exhale a gale of your grace into me and set me under full sail as your servant of life and of love.

Amen. Come Holy Spirit.

From the past:
An alternate text for this Sunday is Ezekiel’s vision of Dry Bones
My thoughts on Ezekiel can be found here.

And Pentecost thoughts from 2016.

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245