Sermon - May 23, 2021 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Sermon – May 23, 2021

The Day of Pentecost: Whitsunday
Year B
May 23, 2021 


Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen

First Reading: Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104:025-35,37
Second Reading: Romans 8:22-27
Gospel: John 15:26-27,16:4b-15
And they were filled with the Holy Spirit:

Our readings today on the Day of Pentecost, are recorded in the Book of Acts, people gathered in Jerusalem from all corners of the Roman Empire. They were coming from all economic interest, diverse cultures, and languages and different religious traditions. 

It didn’t matter to God, His grace was given freely to all who heard the message preached by St. Peter, and thousands converted to Christ.    

Acts 2:1-21
The early Christians had no buildings, no airplanes, no automobiles, no tv, radio or social media. Yet they turned their world upside down for Jesus the Christ. 

They started the spiritual revolution that shook the very foundation of the Roman Empire.
They faced opposition and overwhelming odds, they stayed courageous, bold and full of faith. 
They lived their lives daily for Christ, no matter what others thought. They gladly suffered persecution and even death for their faith in Christ.

Our Gospel for today: John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Jesus said to his disciples, “When the Advocate comes, who I will send to you from the Father, the Spirt of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.

To comfort his disciples, Jesus goes on to say to his disciples:
But now I am going to him who sent me. Sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

When the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

God the Holy Spirit is equal with the Son and with the Father in every respect. Although the doctrine of the Trinity is difficult for us to understand, the Bible teaches that He is co-equal with God the Father and God the Son.

The bible also teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person. He is never to be referred to as “it”. He is not an impersonal power or force, nor is He just a divine influence or agent. He is a mighty Person, the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit virtually has unlimited authority or influence and He has the power to be everywhere at the same time. 

Ephesians 1:13 says:
Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. 

Last Sunday in the Gospel of John 17:1-6, Jesus prayed to God and spoke these words. 

“He looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.”

This is Jesus final prayer. He prayed for himself and he prayed for his disciples. “Father, the hour has come.” For Jesus to manifest his eternal glory.    

We have all been given the Power of the Holy Spirit. All of Gods people, all countries, Everyone! Just as the disciples bold and fearless witness at Pentecost led to the conversion of more than 3,000 people, so too are we called to bear witness of God’s love for the world today. His love is freely given to all of humanity.

The Fire, represents the “Holy Spirit” transforming our inner life.

The Wind, represents the “Holy Spirit” transforming the relationship among humans in their communities.

And the Languages, represents the “Holy Spirit” transforming the relationships between humans. 

The Holy Spirit compels us to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves. One way we do this is by reaching out to the unloved, the hard to love and the rejected in our mist and loving them…. just as our Heavenly Father’s love for us, who are called by His name.

God places a seal on us when we received Christ. And that seal, is a person the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit’s presence God gives us security and establishes His ownership over us.

Jesus promised his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit… whose fruits are love, joy, peace, long-suffering kindness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control.

These fruits are the qualities of Jesus that the Holy Spirit develops in our lives as we grow in our faith.

The Holy Spirit transforms us the believer into the image of Christ and we share in the mission of the church and the teachings of Christ.

Good news:
Take it from someone who has been visited by the Holy Spirit several times in my life and I believe the Holy Spirit is alive and well today. He continues to pour out on people of every language at Pentecost and draw people of every culture, language and ethnicity into the family we call the church.

Today we celebrate the fruits, the gifts of the Holy Spirit that has been given to us and to all of God’s people. My prayer is, that we use this Day of Pentecost as an opportunity to open ourselves up to what God wants not what we might personally prefer.  

Leave today, renewed and transformed into the image of Christ.

The Rev. Lola Culbreath