May 06, 2008

Looking Ahead to May 11, 2008 -- Pentecost Sunday, Mother's Day

A reminder that this week being Mother's Day means we have our annual brunch following the service. Also, as it is Pentecost Sunday we will celebrate the sacrament of communion.

The Scripture readings this week are:
  • Numbers 11:24-30
  • Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
  • Acts 2:1-21

The hymns this week are:

  • 198 Come, O Spirit, Dwell Among Us
  • 195 On Pentecost They Gathered
  • 480 Let Us Break Bread Together
  • 481 Sent Forth by God’s Blessing

The sermon title is: Spirit Language

Early Thoughts: Do we know what to do with people who are moved by the Spirit? What is the role of the prophet in today's society?

Earlier this year the US election was rocked by snippets of sermons given by Rev. Jeremiah Wright at the church where Barack Obama has attended. As sound bites the quotes were potentially troubling. Those who have read or heard the whole sermon say they were words of truth-telling, words of challenge, words of prophecy in a Biblical sense.

What do we do when the Spirit moves us to speak out against the norm, against the commonly accepted knowledge? Often we react defensively. Often the power-brokers react angrily. Often there is derision and condemnation. And that is what happens in Scripture when people become Spirit-filled and speak Spirit language. The Spirit often seems to break into our world and push us to re-evaluate what we believe. No wonder such action is often met with anger, derision, defensiveness.

What is the Spirit blowing into our lives and minds today? What fills us with fire and excitement so that we can hardly keep quiet?

and here are some other reflection questions around the Scripture passages for this week:
Is there a time when you have been overwhelmed by the “spirit of the moment”? How did that feel (great, terrifying, awesome ...)?
Often in our Scriptural story people do not know what to do with others who are moved by or filled with the Spirit. How do you imagine you would react to people acting like the Spirit-filled people in the readings?
Have you felt someone or something pushing you to say something unpopular and yet were sure it was the right thing to say? How do we react to that disagreement?
Where do you feel the Spirit leading you at this point in your life?

1 comment:

  1. Good thoughts, and I'm pondering.

    However, regarding J Wright, I did here two of his sermons (from which a few of the more questionalable quotes came) and I found them greatly troubling, and not because they were prophetic or challenging. At first, I agreed with his words, which were about our treatment of Natives, Japanese citizens during WW2, other minorities. I was thinking he was speaking out very courageously...but then I grew more and more troubled. Not because his words were a phrophetic call to action but because they were rants that seemed hateful. Yelling "God damn America" about ten times in a row, to the cheers of a crowd seems to me to be a way to enflame some of what is the worst about us. The sound bites were inflamatory, and I was contemptuous, in a way, of those who criticized Obama for the words of his pastor. Sadly, the sermons were even worse than the sound bites, IMO. I was getting close to deciding to vote for Obama, but now I am not sure.

    Sorry for the bunny trail....I'll go back to pondering your challenging questions.