Pentecost has arrived. Alleluia, Alleluia!!
When I was a little girl I remember the priest telling a story of Pentecost where people gathered together and a loud wind came into the room. Tongues of flame came and settled on each of the people. I remember being scared because I could not imagine what was happening. Now that I am older, much older, I can feel the excitement that must have been in the room. It must have been electrifying!!
I had the privilege to be in Jerusalem on Pentecost a number of years ago. It is a memory that fills my mind with excitement and intense energy whenever I think of it. I remember asking God if I ever would be a priest and what would I be doing. I could never believe in my wildest dreams that I would be a priest here today at Jesus Our Shepherd and in addition I was going to baptize my beautiful granddaughter, Sophia Grace.
I went to a church in Jerusalem that was supposedly to be the exact place the Holy Spirit came down upon the people gathered. All the tourists present were from different countries and were speaking different languages. I confess I did not know what they were talking about but it made no difference. All of us there were celebrating the Coming of the Spirit and we were all rejoicing that God arranged for us to be there in the right place and the right time. We were members of one Christian church.
We, too, are celebrating the Spirit of God who is with us at all times. It must have been difficult for the disciples and others to assimilate so much over the last few weeks. They had believed in God because they had heard so much about God. There were many names they had called God: Ruah, I Am, the Holy One, El Shaddi (Hebrew), Yahweh many more names including Wisdom that I talked about earlier. Then they had just found out that Jesus, their friend, was the Son of God. And now, they were experiencing the tongues of called the Holy Spirit. Pentecost was the beginning of the church.
The new church was given much energy because of the Holy Spirit coming to and within the Christians gathered in that room. They would never forget when the wind blew and the Spirit descended upon the people. Over the last two thousand years the church has come to believe that God is a Trinity of three parts: Creator, Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit. It has been my experience that different people pray to the one of the parts of the Trinity more often than the other two. Perhaps you are someone that prays to God with words throughout the day. Others have a personal relationship to Jesus and pray to him. Because I am a person that does not often pray in words, I usually pray to the Holy Spirit in a meditative way. Any time we pray to God of the Trinity our prayers are holy and our prayers are always heard. The Trinity is not a jealous God and welcomes all of our prayers.
In my home I have a wind chime; in fact I have a few wind chimes that help me remember that the Holy Spirit is always near. The wind chime blows unexpectedly when I am not aware. This reminds me I am in the presence of God. Through terrible storms I am reminded that the Holy Spirit is with me. When the wind chime blows often, I remember that I am surrounded by the Spirit of God. And even when the wind chime is silent a quick glance reminds me that I am wrapped up by the love of God I cannot see.
Today's Gospel is encouraging. It says," The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom God has sent in my name will teach you everything and remind me of what I have told you." This means that we always will be learning from the Spirit and always will be reminded of what good we should do. It is important to note that we are always learning. This means that as a church we will learn from each other, learn from our families, learn from the people around us, and learn from the good others do.
Sophia Grace Peyton will be taught by her parents, her god parents, her grandparents, her family, and the church community she will join. Wisdom of the Spirit will be given to her by the people who love her and teach her. She will learn by good example and loving kindness. That is why her baptism today is such a holy day. All of us who were baptized were taught loving ways and not so loving ways. When we became adults we should have realized we could our change our ways of acting. If we knew we were missing some wisdom or grace or kindness we had not learned, we could change. God has said that are never alone. We are surrounded by God's Spirit and will be guided by Her Spirit if we ask, yearn for, and find more compassion for ourselves and for others in our world.
Pentecost gives us a great reason to celebrate and renew ourselves. Today should be a day for balloons, banners, sparklers, and partying. We have an Advocate that teaches us every day the way to love, show compassion and caring and ways to become more holy. Today is the birthday of the church. Let us celebrate and be glad.