Sunday, June 5, 2022
Day of Pentecost, Year C
Baptism of Mack William Richardson
Prayer of the Day
God our creator, the resurrection of your Son offers life to all the peoples of earth. By your Holy Spirit, kindle in us the fire of your love, empowering our lives for service and our tongues for praise, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and 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
Romans 8:14-17 The Spirit makes us children of God
John 14:8-17 [25-27] The Father will give you another Advocate, the Spirit of truth
Title: The Spirit’s Holy Noise
What can I say to you Mack William Richardson, on this day of your baptism? And what a great day to be baptized – Pentecost. With these two wonderfully Spirit-filled and Spirit-filling occasions, there is so much to say, so much I want to say. However, there is so much our liturgy is saying to us today, I better keep my words focused and concise. So, listen carefully.
And that is exactly what I want to talk to you about, Mack William – listening. You may have already noticed this, but the world is a very noisy place. Of course you’ve noticed this, like me you have two older siblings and we both know that makes it hard to get a word in edgewise. But the noise of the world that I am talking about goes beyond the noise at home. Way beyond. I’m sure you’ve already noticed that some noises are pleasant and will make you smile, some are soothing and will put you to sleep. Some are loud and disturbing and you’ll want to plug your ears. Some of the noise that we’ve been hearing lately has even brought us to tears. Not only is this a noisy world, but it seems like they just keep inventing new ways to make noise and creating new things for us to listen to.
But Mack, I want you to put all that noise of the world out of your ears, and I want you to listen to the soundscape of this day, this feast of Pentecost, this day of your baptism. Because there are some sounds connected to each that you definitely want to hear.
That first Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit came and the church was born, that day started with a loud rush of wind. Like the wind that will fly your kites to amazing heights. Wind that will fill the sails of your boats (toy or bigger) sending you and them on adventures. That Pentecost wind was so powerful it had a sound to it. It grabbed people’s attention. The disciples in the house, the people on the street, the visitors to Jerusalem. New heights were reached. A new adventure began. The Holy Spirit was present.
Following that noise of the rushing wind, there followed the noise of speaking. Now Mack, I know you are still learning your first language, but image in you can, people speaking all kinds of languages, languages they had never studied or spoken before. But more important than the speaking, was the fact that people could hear and understand in their own language. (Because what’s the point of speaking really, if no one is listening or understands you? You’ll learn that soon enough, Mack.) From the start, this wild and wonderful Holy Spirit made it clear that she was cutting through the noise that divides us, connecting us in spite of the noise that separates us into tribes and clans and factions, dissolving the Tower of Babel-born confusion, so that everyone, everyone could hear the good news of what God had done and is doing through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.
Now Mack, here’s a sad fact you will learn, when people, actually I should say, when adults, hear something that is a mystery, they feel a need to come up with some explanation that makes sense to them, even if it means bending the truth or adding details. And that’s what people did on that first Pentecost. They didn’t understand what was going on and so they tried to explain it away. The accused the followers of being drunk, filled with new wine, they said. But Peter, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, cut through their doubt-filled noise and told them the truth, told them of God’s actions, told them the story of Jesus. (It is a story that you will hear as you grow.) And some people are still trying to explain away the mystery of Jesus. But keep listening to what the Spirit is telling you, as you hear it read from scripture, are taught by your parents and teachers, and you hear the witness of other baptized siblings. We all need to listen to one another to hear what the Spirit is saying to us in this time. No one has all the answers. We are the body of Christ joined together in the Spirit. And the noise we make together can be a beautiful thing. We call it harmony.
That’s what Paul is talking about in his letter to the Christians in Rome. Mack, in these waters of baptism you will be made a child of God, part of the body of Christ, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and you will have breath and a voice to cry to heaven and a voice to speak the truth. So, make some noise. Some holy noise.
In the reading from the gospel, Philip knew he and the other disciples were expected to make some holy noise. There they were, at that supper that would be their last supper with Jesus. He must have been sensing something major was about to happen. There was a lot of noise swirling around them. Hosannas and threats. Predictions and promises. Philip wants to cut through it all, solve all the mysteries, and find out just want to expect. “Show us God,” he says to Jesus. And Jesus says, “Have you been listening, Philip?” God had been (and is) in all the words that Jesus spoke.
And the Spirit comes to keep us mindful of Jesus’ words and deeds. To aid us in keeping our hearts and minds set on following Jesus. God knows full well how noisy this world can be. So the Spirit of truth that silences the world’s noise is sent and God’s word is proclaimed in us, through us, and in spite of us.
So Mack, listen to the holy noise that the Spirit is making this day…
The songs of praise that we sing
The spoken word read from scripture
The silence of pray-filled pauses
The calls for peace and justice
The love spoken by your family that brings you here
The splash of the water that washes you into God’s family
The promises that God is making to you
The gentle flare of the candle lighting reminding us that Christ shares his light with us
The promise of Jesus to be present in the bread and the wine and the fellowship of his table.
The sending words of challenge joined with comforting words to sustain us.
Yes, the world is a noisy place, Mack William. But I pray that its noise that can certainly cause doubt and fear in all of us, never overpowers the beauty, the mercy, the grace, the peace of the holy noise of God that is present in you through the Holy Spirit to serenade every day of your life.
The Rev. Mark Erson,