We Have Words from God to Speak
Text for blog adapted from Pentecost Homily by The Rev. Marcia McRae
For St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bainbridge, GA, 19 May 2013
Year C RCL: Acts 2: 1-21; Psalm 104: 25-35, 37; John 14:8-17, (25-27)
What a wonderful gift we have this Pentecost as we celebrate the Birthday of the Church! What a wonderful gift God offers us through each other. Thank you readers for sharing your gift of languages, for giving us a sense of the sounds on that first Pentecost – when God the Creator of all creates the Church: God’s gift to us of new life in Holy Relationship.
The verses in Acts tell us God’s gift sounds like the rush of a violent wind. It looks like divided tongues of fire.
This IS something so new the disciples cannot say exactly What.
They can just say it is like wind, like tongues, like fire.
When we encounter Mystery, words are inadequate.
The tongues come from the One Tongue that speaks in Genesis. God says: “Let there be light.” God speaks life to all creation. On the cross, Jesus says: “It is accomplished.” Jesus speaks love and gives us the peace the world cannot give, peace when we are in chaos.
On Pentecost God creates anew.
The Holy Spirit births the Church &
reverses the Tower of Babble.
God’s gift of languages at Pentecost (as Bible commentators note) reverses that confusion of sounds, the chaos that separates us.
God creates something new on the ancient Feast of Pentecost, which commemorates God’s giving the Law through Moses. The Holy Spirit comes, writing a new law in our hearts, speaking love, peace, life in all languages to draw all people into unity.
One Holy Tongue shares ITSELF among us so that we can speak, so that all can hear the Good News of God’s love. God’s love creates us for relationship with God & all God’s creation. The mystic poet, Hildegard of Bingen, puts it this way (and I paraphrase):
O human...you have within yourself Heaven and Earth.
You have within yourself Heaven and Earth. You are where God resides. You ARE created for Holy Relationship. God makes us for relationship with God & each other.
AND God gives the gift of the church.
Spell it: C-H – UR – C-H. UR the Church. It is the people, not the building....wherever we are. God gives us this gift.
You can reject a gift.
You can accept it & leave it prettily wrapped on a shelf & never enjoy the beautiful gift inside.
If you open it, you will have some tissue paper & other wrappings.
What to do with the stuff that comes with the gift?
Rely on the Holy Spirit.
“...(I)n Christian community we don't find perfect people, but folks like us struggling to live into the love God has shown in Jesus, says the Rev. Canon Frank Logue in his column, “The Loose Canon: Teaching the Language of Jesus”. He notes that we are not perfect “...but we must seek to be faithful and then remain honest and open when we fall short (and we will).” I like the fact that he emphasizes we will fall short.
We do fall short in many ways. The Church gives us relationship, not perfection. We are works in progress. God gives us each other. God gives us love, peace & life that transform us – slowly at times. We are the Church – God’s Holy People.
We have words from God to speak & to share:
Words of love
Words of peace
Words of life!
Chittister, Joan. The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life. www.bluebridgebooks.com: (United Tribes Media Inc.) BlueBridge. 2011.
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Dios Habla Hoy: La Biblia. New York: American Bible Society. 1983.
Douglas-Klotz, Neil. Prayers of the Cosmos: Reflections on the Original Meaning of Jesus’s Words. New York: GarperOne. 1990.
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Guillém, The Rev. Canon Anthony, the Episcopal Church’s missioner for Hispanic-Latino ministries. The Diocese of Georgia’s Hispanic-Latino Workshop. Honey Creek, the Diocese of Georgia’s Episcopal Camp and Conference Center, Waverly, GA. 9 May 2012.
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Lectionary Page. http://www.lectionarypage.net/. Accessed: 10 April 2013.
Logue, Frank. “The Loose Canon: Teaching the Language of Jesus.” From the Field: News & Events of the Church in Georgia. Volume 3, Number 38. http://georgia.anglican.org/?page_id=1239. Accessed: 14 May 2013.
New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Eds.: Herbert G. May, Bruce M. Metzger. New York: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1977.
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 Seeing God Everywhere: Essays on Nature and the Sacred. Ed.: Barry McDonald. P. 131.