Pentecost Sunday Homily Transcript
Her husband’s graveside service had just finished. There was a massive clap of thunder followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning accompanied by even more thunder rumbling in the distance. The little elderly lady looked at the pastor and calmly said, “Well, he’s there.” How do you describe the indescribable? A football player’s interviewed as confetti rains down around him in the first moments after his team wins the super bowl. When asked what that moment means to him he says, “It feels like I’m floating on air.”
A hospital patient is asked how it feels after successful surgery has removed the cancer from her body. She said, “I feel like a kid again “like everything is possible.” A man is asked how it feels to lose his beloved father after a sudden heart attack. He replies, “It feels like the pillars of the earth “have been shaken like nothing is safe or certain anymore.” So how do we describe the indescribable, and how do the first leaders of the church describe the experience of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them at Pentecost filling them with new courage, new insight, and a new intimacy with God? It was a shaking experience to be sure. It was a life-changing experience. That’s what it was like. That’s what it was like. It was like a rushing, mighty wind falling upon them or breathing a new creation life within them, but in short it was not like anything they’d ever felt or experienced ever before. So in today’s Gospel, John writes that the Apostles are terrified, but then the Holy Spirit blows through their barricaded room.
The Spirit, the very breath of God, transforms their fear into purpose, their despair into direction, their disgrace into peace. Little story, a woman was in the line waiting to check out when she was passed an envelope from the person in front of her. Someone had written on the envelope in the grocery store, “There’s $50 in this envelope for your groceries, “take it if you need it, if not, pass it on.” The woman passed the envelope to the person behind her and watched it go from person to person to person to person, one line to another line, but the thing that struck her most was that many of the people actually put money into the envelope. The Spirit of God moved through the line of shoppers in an envelope and any time, any place where compassion and generosity are experienced and felt, the Spirit of God is present and with us.
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