May 31, 2020

Pentecost - Year A

 

You'll find a video of the entire service at

https://www.facebook.com/StStephensSLO/videos/287326535775225/

 

If you'd like to follow along, click for the Pentecost Service Booklet

 

2020 May31_FrIan

Feast of Pentecost- Year A

A Sermon Preached by The Rev. Ian M. Delinger

 

For our 4th year running, Pentecost is a Sunday for the Kids’ Pentecost Pageant. The kids contributed both video and audio from their own homes. It was very crudely pieced together into a short film. And so, here we have it!

 

Children’s Pentecost Pageant Video:

https://www.facebook.com/StStephensSLO/videos/293223651810263/

 

Wonderful as always!

 

Pentecost is a moment of celebration. It’s known as the Birthday of Church, because of that moment on the already-established Jewish Feast of Pentecost, Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit was given to His followers, and the formal, missionary Church was born.

 

One of the things that we have to always remind ourselves is that

 

the Church, it is the people.

 

The flame of the Holy Spirit came upon each person and the gathering of the people. The Holy Spirit didn’t come to them in a building or through an institution.

 

The play, written by Amanda Thayer whose kids attend Grandmother’s House Children’s Center, not only stays true to the story in a contemporary way, it focuses on the people. The many voices – which could increase or decrease in number depending on the kids available – illustrate that individuals are called by Jesus to come together to spread the Good News of Salvation in Jesus Christ through the power given to them by the Holy Spirit.

 

So, the Church, it is the people. We all know that, but it’s good to be reminded. It’s good to be reminded at this time because we are not gathering in our building. Despite the Governor’s relaxing of the Stay at Home order to include places of worship, now is not the time to rush back into our building.

 

We need to stay safe, protect our
personal health and the health of
others. But we still gather as the
church. That is undeniable.

 

And, as I have preached before and put into The Witness, we can spread the Good News of Jesus Christ without having to come into this building. Stay connected; reach out to your friends and family; let them know what your faith and worship mean to you; give them link to our worship services.

 

People. Real people. What the pandemic, the politics, the legislation, the social media, the stories both good and bad have really highlighted is that this world, this country, this state, this town, this parish are all made up of real people. These real people, we believe, are each created in the Image of God, and that Salvation is open to them upon hearing and receiving the Good News of Jesus Christ. The 350k who died worldwide, the 100k who have died in the USA, the 2.3M worldwide who have recovered, they are all real people. Those who have kept our grocery stores stocked and open, our lawns mowed, our medical care provided, our trash collected and our internet running, they are all real people. We’re raising money to support the Food Bank, run by and serving real people, real people working extra long hours, and real people who have lost their livelihoods and for many, their dignity. We are called to serve them.

 

We have seen how many of the structures in our country are broken or which we thought existed and which don’t, because now we are all seeing real people affected by that brokenness. Healthcare, education, government, food supply chain: Broken. Many of us already knew that these structures and more were broken, but many more of us now know because we are seeing the devastating effects.


The church can and should be a
part of the repairing and
rebuilding. Not the church
building. Not the Church as the
institution. But the Church as
the people.

 

The Good News is not simply to be heard and believed; it is to be lived. The Holy Spirit came upon us to live the Good News. The event of Pentecost was just the beginning, the birth of what we are being called to do in the name of Jesus Christ. We still can’t gather in the church building; we have to stay at home. But we can still be the Church, be those people empowered by the Gift of the Holy Spirit from our homes to help spread the Good News and live the Good News to repair all that we have discovered is broken in our own society.

 

I’m going to play the short Pentecost Pageant for you one more time. Pay particular attention to how the message that we as Christians have for the world still manages to find its way out into the wider world even though the voices are coming from 5 different homes. Your own sermon is in what the kids present to you. It’s up to you to articulate it for yourself and then to spread it. At your Baptism, you were given the Holy Spirit to support and guide you in that.

 

Children’s Pentecost Pageant Video:

https://www.facebook.com/StStephensSLO/videos/293223651810263/

 

Amen.

 

Keep safe. Keep well. Keep the faith.


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