Northfield

United Methodist Parish

Sunday, May 31, 2020 – Pentecost 2

Sunday, May 31, 2020 – Pentecost 2

Read today’s lectionary

Pentecost! A day of wind and flame as we celebrate the dramatic way the Holy Spirit was poured out for all people.

When we speak of wind and flame or fire, we speak of things that can disrupt. A fire can bring cozy warmth to an evening when people gather around a fire pit, but we’ve seen the ravages of wild fires in California and terrible fires this week. A gentle breeze can cool a hot humid evening, but we’ve seen the destruction of wind in hurricanes and tornadoes.

Wind and fire can bring disorder to order.

Why would anyone pray for the Pentecost wind to come again? This is not a prayer to take lightly. We are suffering the ravages of a virus that has disrupted and disordered life all over the world. We don’t do well with disorder. Humans naturally prefer order, we like things to be predictable, we like the status quo even though we give lip service to wanting change.

We may see the need for change but as soon as change starts to happen, look out, we get very reactive! Like ants that scramble out of a mushed anthill to rebuild, we scramble to get things “back to normal.” Like a rubber band that is stretched to its limit and then contracts, we will go along with the disruption of change until the point of maximum resistance is reached and we attempt to rebound back to the way things were.

Even if things weren’t great, at least there was a predictable order. Just look at our responses to the COVID-19 virus. Churches scrambled to find ways to worship and many worship virtually, having the same services but not in their buildings. People yearn to return to their buildings though and keep trying to go back to normal — even at the risk of their health or others’.

Pray for the Holy Spirit’s wind and fire and risk dis-order? Yikes!

But.

There’s always a “but,” right? But that wind and flame of Pentecost brought with it a special gift. This Spirit on that day long ago restored an order that had been absent since Babel. The commotion was so disruptive that devout Jewish people of many nationalities and cultures and races gathered to see what was going on. They heard uneducated, back-country folk, i.e., the disciples, speaking not in the Galilean dialect but in their own native languages, languages these men certainly did not know. Later that same day after Peter finished preaching, the crowd was “cut to the heart” and asked, “what should we do?”

“What should we do” is a question that suggests openness to change, openness to a reordering of lives.

The wind of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost brought people back into unity, from a place that was disordered to a place that was reordered. A unity we need this very day.

Not only is a virus causing rampant disorder here and in countries around the world, but this week starting in Minneapolis and many other cities as the week progressed, we’ve been experiencing the reaction to a societal order in our county that is in desperate need of reordering.

The dis-order of racism goes against the order of God’s kingdom, or realm, or God’s Divine Order.

We need the re-ordering wind and fire of the Holy Spirit. The good news is that we have it – the reading from John speaks of a river of living water that streams from believer’s hearts. This living water is the Holy Spirit. This living water has been poured out on us to prophesy, or speak God’s truth, to dream God’s dreams and envision God’s vision of a holy order.

 Amos 5:24 says: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Can justice and righteousness flow from us? From the Church, the Body of Christ? Through the power of the Holy Spirit, yes, even ordinary folk can do extraordinary things. Things that bring God’s order to the here and now.

Dare we pray, come Holy Spirit, come? Yes, we must. We must risk the dis-ordering of unjust “orders” if we are to be participants in God’s divine order here on earth. An order where many are one in Christ. And then we must be prepared to ask, “What then should we do?” and be ready to act.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, Fire of Love, Breath of God, Wind of Pentecost, today is a day of celebrating your outpouring on people like us. We remember your mighty acts in the creation of our world, in the birth and life and death of Jesus, in your outpouring on the apostles, in our baptisms, and in the empowering of prophets – ordinary people – throughout the ages to speak and act on your behalf — such mysteries are beyond our comprehension, yet there is such love behind each act.

Through your power, ordinary people have done things they could not imagine being able to do. Help us to be bold pray-ers when we pray, “come Spirit come.” Stir up our complacent lives and empower us to live lives that glorify you. Come Spirit Come. Blow through us again, and open us, our hearts, our minds, our hands, to you that we may be renewed as your people and be made alive again as your Church in the world that your Divine Order may come upon the earth. Through Jesus Christ, Amen.

~ Evie Doyon, May 30, 2020