Sunday, May 31, 2020
Day of Pentecost, Year A
Prayer of the Day
O God, on this day you open the hearts of your faithful people by sending into us your Holy Spirit. Direct us by the light of that Spirit, that we may have a right judgment in all things and rejoice at all times in your peace, through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Readings and Psalm
Acts 2:1-21 Filled with the Spirit to tell God’s deeds
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 Varieties of gifts from the same Spirit
John 20:19-23 The Spirit poured out
Title: A Plea for Pentecost
Come, Holy Spirit, come. Come, Blazing Fire. Come, Stirring Wisdom. Come, Living Breath.
Please come, blazing fire, come down from heaven.
Because our fires blaze out of control.
The fires we start and the fires we feed seek to destroy the other so that we don’t have to face their deep need and the oppression that is choking them.
Our fires warm our homes, fuel our engines, cook our food, all the while we are not seeing just what is the fuel that is being thrown in the fire for the sake of our comfort, our progress, and our gluttony. Our fires are ignited by anger. Sometimes understandable rage, yet still destructive, distracting, demoralizing.
Our fires are ignited by fear. Fear of losing power, control, status. Fear of the darkness that haunts us from inside.
Our fires are ignited by hopelessness. A faithless action taken because we think it is all about us and all up to us.
The light from our fires does not illumine, rather it blinds us from seeing what is truly out there in our dark corners, our hidden away places, the deep darkness that feeds on our brokenness, our denial, our addiction to death.
Come, blazing fire, come down from heaven. Come to earth again. And light the fire of peace within us.
Feed the fire that refines us as silver and gold are refined.
Burn away the dross that inflicts and infects our lives and the lives of those we come in contact with, those we call neighbor, even those we call stranger.
Burn in us, warming our desire to share our gifts and privilege, fueling our courage to stand with the oppressed, empowering our voice to speak for those silenced by power.
Light anew the beacon in each of us, first lit in baptism when we were joined to Christ – our light eternal; the beacon that witnesses to you who is the true light of the world, that draws others to you through the words and actions that they see in us.
Light the guiding light that leads us into paths of right acting for the sake of your gracious, merciful, and loving reign, whose fire will never die.
Come, blazing and holy fire.
Please come, stirring wisdom, come down from heaven.
What we call wisdom could not be more laughable foolishness to you. Our wisdom, no, I shouldn’t even use the word for what we think and how we see, for how we discern and decide. Perhaps folly is a better word.
Our folly is convinced that scarcity abounds. That there couldn’t possibly be enough to go around, to satisfy all. So, we hoard, and we stockpile. We plot how to get more, how to capture what they have, what will make us happy…or is it merely make us content…okay, make us numb.
Our folly inspires us to prescribe remedies for those crying out for help without ever asking what they need, without looking hard at what we must remedy in ourselves for their sake.
Our folly creates systems that are as sinful as we are, and then we are shocked when these systems fail and oppress.
Maybe they don’t fail us, but we are not the only ones in the system.
And we preach our folly with little regard whether or not it is being understood. And when there is confusion, we, who think ourselves wise, blame the target for not listening, for not receiving, for not cooperating. And we think ourselves wiser still.
Come, Stirring Wisdom, come down from heaven. Come to earth again.
Bring your perfect understanding, insight, and right thinking. Open our eyes to see our folly, open our minds to free us from our delusions, open our lips to speak your word. Direct our searching hearts to see the abundance you promise, provide, and call us to share with all.
Free us from the foolishness that drives our greed.
Order our priorities to be aligned with what Christ has taught us, shown us in his life and death, confirmed in his resurrection, that which he leads us to live as his disciples.
Lead us into deep and thorough examination of all structures and systems in which we are active and passive, leaders or supporters.
Stir up your power and come wherever we have resigned ourselves to “well, that’s just the way it is.”
Stir up your power and bring your peace that is beyond understanding and beyond our limited awareness of time.
Come, stirring and holy wisdom.
Please come, Living Breath, come down from heaven.
For we are short of breath, in fact we have no breath, without you there is no breath, no life. And in our breathlessness, we are choking one another. Choking with action and with inaction. We pant and gasp as if there is not enough oxygen for everyone. What we exhale is filled with disease and death. We mask against the toxicity. But that does not take away what is infecting our very being. Our masks don’t keep it in.
It flows out in words and deeds.
It flows through our organizations and our institutions. Yes, even the church that we say is yours. It flows from one generation to the next. We cannot grow if this polluted air is our only source of air. We cannot live. And others cannot live when we are infecting the environment so.
Our world robs all of us of our breath. And too many have our knees on their necks and doubly they cannot breathe. Too many lungs have been infected with our sinfulness. Too many have had the wind knocked out of them and they are having trouble catching your breath. We are gasping ourselves. We are hyperventilating with fear and hopelessness. Without you, none of us can breathe.
Please come, Living Breath, come down from heaven. Come to earth again. You who breathed life into creation, who breathed new life of resurrection into the one we crucified. You who breathed new life into each of us in baptism. Come and breathe the new breath of re-creation into us again, into the oppressed ones, into the sorrowful ones, into the angry ones, into the sick and suffering ones.
Resuscitate, restore and resurrect us to the new life that is your gift in the waters of baptism and is our calling while we serve you by serving the world, while we live and move, and have our being as the body of Christ.
Breathe new determination and dedication into the gifts that you have given to each one of us so that this Spirit-animated body of Christ might serve and speak, shout and sing, lament, cry out, pray, rejoice, and give thanks.
Just as we needed Christ to breath again and rise from the dead, so the world needs the church and us to die once more, so as to breathe in the Spirit again and live again as the body of Christ. Come living and holy breath.
We rejoice in the faith that you came to those followers and animated your church.
We are encouraged in the confidence that you come to us and renew your church.
We are comforted in the hope that you will come to us every day and always and guide your church forward and forever.
Come, blazing fire. Come, stirring wisdom. Come. living breath. Come, Holy Spirit, come.
The Rev. Mark Erson,