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Sunday, June 8, 2014

06082014 Pentecost Sunday

Sermon Audio

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Today is the festival of Pentecost.  On this day 50 days after Easter, when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, we celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit.  Today the disciples who had fled the Garden when Jesus was betrayed, cowered in fear of their being killed like Jesus in the upper room and some who had even watched Jesus suffer on the Cross, today received the Holy Spirit.  It may seem anti-climatic nearly two thousand years later, but Pentecost is our opportunity as a congregation for us to remember what it means for the Holy Spirit to descend upon us.

If you will notice the colors of the paraments are red today to remember the Holy Spirit descending upon the disciples.  Not only is this a reminder for all of us of Jesus baptism, where the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus Christ head in the form of a dove, but it also is a reminder of our baptism and our confirmation.  When the Pastor placed his hands on your head and you took responsibility for your faith that was your Pentecost moment.

For some the day of our confirmation is etched in our minds, where we took upon ourselves our responsibility and now stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Our vows, not only link us with our church here at Emmanuel.  We are firmly connected to the church throughout the world, our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and others who confess our Christian faith.  We today not only remember our baptism, but especially our confirmation with the descent of the tongues of fire that now rest over our heads.

Today is our Pentecost here at Emmanuel.  We are not only empowered, but enriched and encouraged to live out the Gospel.  We have a decision to make as individuals and as a congregation.  The best way I can help you to clearly understand the power you have on this Pentecost Sunday is by giving you a gift.

Before I give you this gift, I need to warn you.  What I am about to give you can either be like Thor’s hammer, constructive or destructive!  It can mean and be for each of us a symbol for change and opportunity, a reminder when we look upon it, what God gives us with His Holy Spirit, or the potential for God to light a fire in each of us as the body of Christ for the spread of the Gospel for all of mankind.  We have a decision to make how to use the gifts and the power each of us has been individually given by God and the gift I give you today is meant only to be a reminder of God’s gift to us.  It is a symbol or a metaphor for us today on Pentecost of the power of God that lies within each of us.

Please understand, power can be used in at least two ways: it can be unleashed, or it can be harnessed. The energy in ten gallons of gasoline, for instance, can be released explosively by dropping a lighted match into the can. Or it can be channeled through the engine of a tractor in a controlled burn and used to run a combine, a bush-hog or even a tractor trailer to bring a harvest to the elevator. Explosions are spectacular, but controlled burns have lasting effect, staying power. The Holy Spirit that we celebrate its gift to us today works both ways. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit exploded on the scene; His presence was like "tongues of fire" (Acts 2:3). Thousands were affected by one burst of God's power upon the people of God. But He, that is the Holy Spirit, also works through we the church here at Emmanuel—we are the institution God began to tap and use the Holy Spirit's power for the long haul. Through worship, fellowship, and service, we the Saints of Emmanuel are provided with staying power through the Work of the Holy Spirit in and through our lives.

It is this staying power that we have been given in the Holy Spirit for all the saints here at Emmanuel.  So may the gift I give to you today may it simply symbolize the potential that God sees in you and is willing to give you the power to use in His Kingdom and for His Glory for all of mankind, but especially all of you saints gathered here at Emmanuel on this Pentecost Sunday.  AMEN.

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