Romans 8: 14-17
ACTS 2: 1-21


Today, church … today … IF … IF YOU … BELIEVE in Jesus Christ. If you desperately not only want the Holy Spirit to be with you but are willing and anxious to accept God’s gift of love for ALL WHEREVER and EVERYWHERE … If that person is you then you have to be ready to not only desire … because this can’t be about foolish dreams and momentary headnodding … you need to desire and be willing to change and be ready to actively take on the Holy Spirit for the rest of your life for God and for Jesus Christ. Christ’s church can no longer be hidden behind wooden planks and roofing tiles where clusters of friends congregate on Sunday morning’s in America’s most segregated and separated moment … the church of Jesus Christ must be visible and active and inclusive and embracing all others 24/7 throughout the world! And friends that requires change in the people we have been and in how we have given church, God and Christ to the world.

On this Pentecost Sunday church; when I hope that like me you are adorned in red … red the symbol of this day .. red the color Jesus Christ bled for our sins on the cross … red that is the color of every human being on the planet’s blood regardless of their hair styling, their eye color, their accents, their homelife … red the color of every human being’s blood that keeps them alive regardless of the color of their skin … today of all the days of the church calendar we need to hold onto the the words from the opening chapter of this GOOD BOOK <lift up Bible>>.… today of all days regardless of where the isolation of this global pandemic is placing us … church today we need to hear the beginning again because today is a day when we need to reflect and change and rediscover what God expects … what Jesus demands … what we need to do to truly be worthy of the gifts of God’s love through Christ’s death and resurrection and from the presence of God’s Holy Spirit … A Gift for ALL WHEREVER and EVERYWHERE! To believe means to truly change not just say we belong! Do you believe or do you like to belong? Pentecost questions … challenging questions for you and for me.

From Genesis … “When God began to create the heavens and the earth” … you might better remember the old speak from Shakespearean times .. ‘In the beginning God created heaven and the earth’ but truthfully church we don’t live in the times when King James’ printers were putting the Bible into print for every day people to discover … the past is the past … these are our times and we move forward to bring change … live change … accept change … because our yesterday’s cannot be relived and if you believe with all the person you are today … if the person next to you hopefully dressed in red and pictured in the SELFIE that you have sent into church today … if that person believes and if you are living for God and because of your faith in Jesus you are allowing the Holy Spirit to direct your lives then you understand what Paul wrote to the early church about our place in time and space … he sent these words in a letter to the church in Philippi, “The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of His resurrection, and the participation in His sufferings.” I could pull out a sermon about people who believe .. people whose lives are dedicated to works of faith for justice … who GET IT that faith without works is dead that silence from people of faith when evil and hate are flourishing effectively takes away love for all … that the last thing Christians are called to do is to take and hoard and defend their privileges while saying others don’t deserve equality … but that’s for another day … Paul continues, “It is not that I have already reached the goal of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me.”

So back to the beginning … oh church there is so much I want to say today … so much on my heart but this is Pentecost … this is my opportunity and each of your opportunities to finally hear and listen to the call of God for each of us as individuals and if we accept God’s call rejecting humanity’s hate … If we truly believe in Jesus Christ and take Him at His Word … take Jesus at His Word … even if following Jesus’ words, God’s expectations, means we reject the world’s powerful loud voices … if we accept God’s gift of the Holy Spirit and then actually and willingly give the Holy Spirit control over our lives then we will be living in the spirit of Pentecost, a day when God presented humanity with this Holy Spirit gift for ALL WHEVEREVER and EVERYWHERE.

And, “God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them. God blessed them … “ And, today we need to consider the blessings of God … we know about Jesus He was there then because John writes, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning … what came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light for ALL people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.” JESUS CHRIST THE LIGHT of the WORLD!!! He is life for all … light for all but when we have the light it must shine in darkness rather than those who claim to believe quickly hushing and quieting and covering the light when hate and evil run rampant. This morning have you accepted that light of Christ … this morning are you embracing all … standing up for all …

PENTECOST … church. DO YOU often pray ‘come Holy Spirit come … take my life tell me how I can help the Kingdom established by God and Jesus Christ? Carla began her reading in Romans with verse 14 from chapter 8 but I want to take you back to verse 12 as we reconsider that the Holy Spirit’s power that is available for us and for everyone … “So then brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but it isn’t an obligation to ourselves to live our lives on a basis of selfishness … if you live on the basis of selfishness you are going to die. But, if by the Spirit you put to death the actions of the body you will live.”

And when you have heard the names over these last few weeks and seen the video … where has your heart been … where has your mind been … where has your faith been? Have you been focused on your side or on those who died?

AHMAUD ARBERY …. BREONNA TAYLOR … and finally GEORGE FLOYD whose gasping pleading televised 9 minute-long visible pain-filled murder the world has watched repeatedly. What do you think about? Who do you rush to protect … is it your selfishness that appears on this Day of Pentecost. I want to wear black today … I am hurting and mourning … but I have faith in God’s Pentecost renewal so it’s red!

To me the possibilities of faith never cease nor slow down. Are you ready to be living in the renewed spirit of Pentecost church? Are you ready to take on a new energy after being isolated for all these weeks … has isolation strengthened your faith as you have devoted more moments in reading God’s Word … in prayer … listening to the music of faith … discovering God’s reality in cleaner air and quieter surroundings?

They came literally from around the world to Jerusalem and they sat waiting unable to communicate with each other because they spoke many languages. They looked different from each other … many didn’t have the browned skin of the Holy Land … some where had whiter hues from Rome and Greece … others even darker skin from Africa … and there were those who had come from Asia. Strangers waiting to celebrate the feast of Pentecost … celebrate it as they always had year after year … arriving in their place of worship for the same old same old but change was coming … they weren’t going back in time church … they weren’t going to be left sitting on their faith … an energy was going to fill that place … God’s energy … the reality of God’s love for all. God didn’t send those flames of enlightenment only to those who looked like Jesus looked when He walked the earth … God didn’t send His Spirit descending only on those who looked like the Roman leaders whose government controlled the Holy Land and to whom Jesus had stood up to.

They were gathered we read when a rushing sound of the wind from heaven filled the entire place where they were sitting …. A wind from heaven that literally cleared the air because suddenly these people from all cultures, races, and backgrounds were understanding each other … they were listening and sharing … they were all filled with the Holy Spirit in an incredible life-changing moment.

All too often humanity has declared that Pentecost was a day of confusion … that God’s gift was about secrecy but again that is humanity’s issue and many of us have been victimized by the selfishness of some who want to say they have the secret words and only insiders can get it. WE know of those who want to stand behind closed doors where those amongst the in-crowd want to keep it the way it has always been safe and secure but when they go out into the world they turn into different types of people.

We know them … maybe some of you are them … but in this moment of God’s power pouring out to launch the church of Jesus Christ it wasn’t brick, mortar and building supplies that God brought down from heaven … it was the Holy Spirit that filled them and Luke reports very clearly to history “They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.” Luke didn’t say they spoke in gibberish or confusion in fact, Luke writes how the gathering crowd were “mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native language. They were surprised and amazed, saying “Look aren’t all the people who are speaking Galilean every one of them? How can each of us hear them speaking in our native language?”

Peter shared Scripture … “God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people … and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

So here we are today … is it no wonder that the world doesn’t hear the Word of God? We have so many churches some whose foundations are built on excluding some humans made in the image of God from fully participating because of the people they are. We segregate and separate and find comfort in our isolation rather than joy in our sharing the Word with the world.

The times we live in are strange indeed … the Coronavirus pandemic has shown this little church that we are global not isolated this morning people from around the world are with us … the doors may be closed tight for safety but the message and love of this church that just fed hospital workers and now will be feeding Liberia’s hungry is clear … God’s love is a GIFT FOR ALL WHEREVER EVERYWHERE … that is Pentecost’s message and when we go into the world to share the Gospel we can make a difference but the starting point is at home with each of us.

But right now I want to pray for the Holy Spirit to reach your heart. For some of you you know the feeling … your life is directed by God’s Holy Spirit and the world doesn’t block you from loving all .. loving God and standing up for justice but for some of you perhaps you haven’t given control to the God of Creation … Jesus Words have not reached you as words from your Lord and Master but just as words in a book … and the Holy Spirit’s nudges just take you away from how you want to fit in amongst the world.

So, let me pray for all of us now … I pray that you sense the Spirit in these words but if you want to but don’t know how to change please reach out to this church or a person of faith you know in your life and begin to be a person who accepts and then uses God’s GIFT FOR ALL WHEREVER and EVERYWHERE.

Let us pray …

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