Breath of the Wind

Scriptures: Acts 2:1-21

Bulletin-TL 06-09-2019 YC Penetcost

Let us pray:

We would be understanding, Lord God. We would be disciples of your Son Jesus Christ, and we would be led by your Holy Spirit into the world on your behalf. Lead us, we pray. Amen.

I mentioned last week one commentator says the author of Luke-Acts “moves us from the first book’s focus on the work of the second person of the Trinity to the second volume’s focal point, the work of the third person, the Holy Spirit.”[1]

The turning point preparing us to meet the Spirit is the Ascension of Christ, which we commemorated last week. Today we meet the Holy Spirit. This time in the liturgical calendar is a good time to remind ourselves that we are living, even as the early church of Acts was, in transition. Recall that,

“The opening of the book of Acts is a two-layered transition. The top layer [transistions] from the Gospel of Luke to the Acts of the Apostles. [But] underneath this layer [the] far more important transition [where] we are moved from passively waiting for Jesus to come and fix things [to] actively participating in the work of the Holy Spirit now.”[2]

Yet how do we participate in the work of the Holy Spirit? How do we know what it is? What is it God wants us to do? It is like watching the wind move the leaves and branches of the trees and realize we are being asked to hold onto the wind.

Maybe some metaphorical examples close to home can helps us begin to answer those questions. Not too far east from here we have the beginning of the wind farms. Using the power of the wind for completely 100% clean energy is a masterful means of earth stewardship. Stewardship is one of the main commands we are given back in the very beginning of Genesis as God’s keepers of the earth. In the search for power, human kind has spent years burning coal and other fossil fuels, damaging the earth’s atmosphere, lands, and oceans in the process. Turning our hands, eyes, ears, and actions toward clean energy solutions is a huge step in the right direction. Praise God! What an example! The wind and our God-given gift of ingenuity have begun to work together! That is an imperfect metaphor, but I hope it helps.

The Holy Spirit is more though, isn’t it? How do we, like giant windmills, access and transmute the Ruah Eloheim, the Third aspect of the Trinity, into “power from on high” as Jesus tells the disciples they will receive? That is an entirely different matter…or is it? When the wind is blowing strong enough to move those mighty windmills, they automatically make the most of the wind -generating power. Even in smaller versions of windmills found on family farms, the entire housing for the blades swivel to face the correct direction to take most advantage of the wind, not to mention letting the farmers know from which direction the wind is coming. I am afraid I don’t know if those giant ones do, but it would make sense if they did. If we could learn from these mechanized energy harvesters, what might we appropriate to figure out how to live our lives in the Spirit?.

First, be open to receive the Holy Spirit in whatever form it comes, from whatever direction it comes. Second, tune – and turn – our beings to make the most of what the Spirit wafts to us and through us. Third, check our impulse against the teachings of the scriptures and our spiritual guides, and Fourth, do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. What do examples look like? Especially if we are not used to submitting to the Holy Spirit, discerning its movement in our lives, and following where God leads? Here are some ideas:

This could take the form of aged wisdom from our elders who have seen changes in the world through their lifetimes we can hardly imagine. It could take the form of observations and insights from younger generations who have a whole different perspective on life than older generations do. It could take the form of an inner prompting of our hearts to respond when we see a need-say a hungry child in the community needing weekend food or one that doesn’t have warm clothes for the winter. It might be knowing that some of our older members need firewood this winter and can no longer fetch it, cut it, and carry it and stock it up. It might look like organizing boxes of mail at the store in a new way for hikers to easily find and claim.

It could be setting to music the struggles of our hearts – and thus feeding others with similar struggles, letting them know they are not alone. It could be visiting the old and listening to their stories of faith – the faith that brought them through tough times in their lives. It could be nudging us to work with the young, sharing in the moment they learn to read more fluently. It could be a voice telling us to pick up, go, and do something courageous we’ve never done before. There are many possibilities for the Holy Spirit to speak into our lives today.

Being open to being led is only the first step, however. We also have to be willing to set aside our own agendas to follow where God leads. That often proves to be very, very difficult. What I would like you to do next is take three minutes to silently review the past year and highlight a moment or two or three when you think God was closest to you, leading you into something that both you needed and God wanted. Write it down on the back of your bulletin in the space provided. Later this week, or at coffee, if you are inclined to share, find some members of the community or your family to speak with about it. Then make an effort to seek out someone not in your generation and exchange listening moments about a formative experience when you sensed God at work. In such a way, the stories of our lives get told, shared, and heard. And the story of God’s Spirit working in the world just might become better recognized among you.

Please take a few minutes to reflect and write in the space provided on the back of your bulletins. After a few minutes, I will close with prayer.

 

Let us pray:

Holy God, you have opened our hearts to hear you. Now lead us to the places you would have us go to be your true disciples. In the name of Him who lived, died and rose again for us, even Him who is the Christ. Amen? May it be so.

Questions for Reflection

What gift of yours, of your family, and of your community has the Holy Spirit especially nurtured in recent times? How might that gift be expressed and used in a new way in the coming year?

Household Prayer: Morning

Gracious God,
we thank you for the peace of good sleep
and for keeping us safe throughout the night.
Let this new day be a time of praise and joy
as we go out to meet you in our sisters and brothers. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Household Prayer: Evening

Merciful Lord, as night comes to this house,
we thank you for the challenges and accomplishments of this day. Give our hearts and minds the comfort now to rest in your care, trusting that whatever tomorrow brings,
your hand will be ready to catch us if we fall. Amen.

[1] David G. Forney, “Pastoral Perspective, Acts 1:1-11” in Feasting on the Word – Year C, ed. David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009). Accordance edition hyper-texted and formatted by OakTree Software, Inc. Version 2.0

[2] Ibid.

About Scottrick

Parent ~ Pastor ~ Poet ~ Author
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