Tag Archives: Pentecost

Welcome!

joyfor Sunday, June 8, 2014
Day of Pentecost
Year A
lectionary focus: Acts 2:1-21
note: You can certainly adjust this sermon to fit a mission trip your congregation knows; to create a size comparison between the mission area and your local area, check here for country size and here for US state size.

Welcome!

Recently my daughter Cherry went on a medical mission trip to Uganda. Uganda is a country on the continent of Africa. Uganda is about the size of Alabama and most of Mississippi together…so it is a tiny country. Yet Uganda has five times the number of people as we do in the same space! So, Uganda is a tiny country with lots of people! It took Cherry 15 hours by airplane and 6 hours by bus to get where they were going. Some people in Uganda speak English, by many people don’t. The official language is Swahili, but most people don’t speak that either. In fact, in this small area there are forty different languages spoken! That means that talking can be difficult! My daughter’s group had several translators with them. Each translator knew several languages, but each one did not know all forty languages. Sometimes her usual translator would say…I don’t know that language, I’ll go get one of the other translators. Understanding people’s stories took time, but they found a way. Cherry said the communications were another amazing aspect of the trip.

Today on the church calendar is called Pentecost. We get this name from another language, the Greek language: pentecost means fiftieth. We call today Pentecost because it has been fifty days since Easter. Pentecost sounds much prettier and fancier than saying Holy Fiftieth Day!  In our Bible story today, we hear how on this fiftieth day, the disciples received the Holy Spirit. The disciples were all together when a great force came over them. And then each was able to share God’s love in one of the many languages of the people in the community. The disciples were speaking in the languages of the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs! With the Holy Spirit, the disciples were able to speak about God’s great deeds in many different languages!

Nowadays we think there are almost 7000 different languages in the whole world. Sharing information and stories can be difficult with so many languages, but our Bible story today tells us that we should not let differences in language prevent us from sharing God’s love with each other. Everyone is invited to be part of God’s family. All are welcome. Or we could say Bienvenidos! Or Willkommen! Or Merhba! Or as they say in the Rutooro language in Uganda: Oraire ota! (oh-rah-EE-ray OH-tah) Give that one a try; say after me:  Oraire ota!  (Oraire ota!) Welcome! Welcome! We are all welcome to God’s love.

The church is a community of people. Not just the people here, but people everywhere. God calls us and equips us through the Holy Spirit to share with others and build God’s church around the world.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
The world is full of Your people.
Thank You
for helping us
find ways to share
Your love
near and far
with each and all.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

Happy Birthday!

fireworkfor Sunday, May 19, 2013
Pentecost
Year C
lectionary focus: Acts 2:1-21

Good morning!

Today we come to the end of the Easter Season. Today is called Pentecost. Today we celebrate the birthday of the church. But we are not celebrating the birthday of this church. Our church, Edgewood Presbyterian Church, is 101 years old this year and we do make a big deal of celebrating how long EPC has been here…but today we celebrate the birthday of the world church. For almost two thousand years, people have been coming together in congregations all over the world to follow Jesus’s commandment to love God and to love one another. Today we celebrate that we are not Christians alone. We are Christians together. We are a family with Christians all over the world.

Our Bible story today begins with the disciples at Easter. They have seen Jesus risen from the dead and then watched Him ascend to Heaven. They are still struggling with the Easter mystery. And suddenly the disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit. They are overwhelmed with the Easter joy…they know that Jesus, though in Heaven, is still with them always.

And the Bible story goes on…Jesus is not just for them; they are not just a few lucky people. Jesus is for everyone in the whole world: the people then and the people now.  Jesus is still with each of us. And Jesus still loves each of us. We are all blessed people. We are all part of God’s family.

At my house, when someone has a birthday, we usually have two parties: one with our friends and one with our family. Today, we celebrate the birthday of the church with just one party, one party celebrated all over the world…because as Christians, our friends are our family. And as Christians, we are all God’s children…brothers and sisters from one church building to the next all around the world.

So today we say, Happy Birthday to the church! And with churches all over the world, we celebrate that we are all one family…that we are all God’s children.

Will you say a prayer with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for Your world church.
Help us
say Happy Birthday
with our family
all over the world.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

Praying Without Words

For Sunday, May 27, 2012
The Day of Pentecost
lectionary focus: Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:22-27

Good Morning!

We are each doing something right now…without really realizing it. We are breathing. But there are different kinds of breathing. Everyone take in a deep breath. Now let it out fast. That particular kind of breath is called a sigh. Do it again. Breathe in. Breathe out. Usually we sigh when we are tired or sad or not feeling well. But sometimes we sigh when we are happy and comfortable and feeling very well. Sighing is a way of breathing that also speaks our thoughts and feelings without saying words.

Today is Pentecost and we celebrate the Holy Spirit. In our Bible story, we hear how the Holy Spirit came into the world like a rushing wind and the disciples were filled with words of wisdom to preach and pray. But sometimes, for us, we don’t know the right words to say. This is when the Holy Spirit upholds us. As the Bible says, the Holy Spirit helps us speak with sighs too deep for words. When we are so sad we don’t know how to pray to God, the Holy Spirit helps us sigh. When we are so happy we don’t know how to thank God, the Holy Spirit helps us sigh. And God understands all the unspoken words that fill our sighs and showers us with His love. Sighing is a way of praying that speaks our thoughts and feelings without saying words.

So the next time, you are not sure what to say, pray with a Holy Spirit sigh and God will know what you mean and what you need.

Will you say a prayer with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it back.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You for words.
Thank You for prayers.
Thank You for prayers without words.
And with a big, happy sigh
(sigh)
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.