Sunday, 4 June 2017

Stand up! Speak out! Pentecost Sermon 2017

Stand up. Speak out.
“the Spirit enabled them to speak” (Acts 2:4)
“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22, 23)

The Spirit enables them…
The gifts of the Spirit are:
Self control
We live in times that are not always kind, not always loving; not always self controlled
We are living through days when generosity seems far away
When peace feels a distant memory
When joy is tinged with sadness
When patience has worn thin

We are living through strange and terrible times.

And yet.
I am old enough to remember similar days in the 1970s.
Others here are old enough to remember uncertainty in the 1960s
Or the fear of the 1950s
And the horror of world war in the 30s and 40s…

Just because this feels new; feels personal; feels immediate – we also need to remember that as the old teacher wrote – there is nothing new under the sun.

2000 or so years ago the disciples gathered together, fearful, afraid, paralysed with grief and unable to move outside their tight, familiar circle.
Even though they have seen Jesus – know God’s power has overcome evil; that life is there for the taking – they are still afraid.

A rushing wind
A sensation of God’s presence
And the rush of joy that exploded over them as the Spirit came to do her work.

And suddenly -  the Spirit enabled them to speak
And they were filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control

And then everything was fine
And they all lived happily ever after…
Except of course it wasn’t and they didn’t.
Not in the simplistic, safe, fairy tale way at least.

God is not a fairy tale!!
God is all seeing; all powerful; ever present
Our advocate
Our strength
Our power
Our friend
Our comforter
Our everything.

The world may seem mad
Those who seek to wreak havoc – an unseen enemy, may seem overwhelming and unassailable.
Yet, with God, nothing is impossible.
The fruits of the Spirit remind us, again and again, we have hidden reserves; unlimited reserves; holy reserves.
And, "no matter what" we can prevail.
God is good, no matter what.
We are God's children, no matter what.
Love will conquer madness, no matter what.
The coming of the Holy Spirit was a fulfilment of God’s promise; of Jesus’ promise.
The coming of the Holy Spirit heralded a new era – an era that continues to this day
God is with us, no matter what.
The Spirit came, and all God’s People received her power – the were moved to stand up. To speak out. No matter what.
The Spirit brought an infinite supply of
The gifts of the Spirit are:
Self control
Ours for the taking
Ours for the using

Ours – no matter what 

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