Posts Tagged ‘Pentecost’


See the source imageAh 50 days after Easter, and it is Pentecost. The birthday of the church. The day with the outward experience of the inward holy mystery of each of us, as the ancient church told the story in the Christian Testament:

2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

-Acts of the Apostles 2:1-13, English Standard Version

It was a time of shattering false dichotomies, labels and barriers. A time when all were seen as created- equal and whole, blessed and loved. This is the story of Pentecost. Removing the barriers of exclusion and hate, so love wins.

What a weekend for this to happen with the historic riots south of the border, as Rev. Michael Coren on Twitter reminded us this morning with:

A #PentecostSunday prayer
Unite us Holy Sprit: in justice, equality, peace, and love. Remove the power of the oppressor, restore the dignity of the oppressed. Make us whole with the rhythms of what is right, repair the brokenness of an unfair society. Amen.

Who would Brother Jesus direct us, his humble students and believers nee 2,000 years onwards, to stand with? To love? What should we do in this time of uncertainty, upheaval, physical disconnect? The world is changing rapidly, and we are responding in person or from a distance to crisis after crisis it seems. Constantly running at a minimal level of constant being on anxiety.

Fatigue is setting in and that is okay. It is okay to take time for one self, but not to do it in a way through justification that the world is fear mongering, or our oppressed brothers and sisters simply need to get over it. We still need to stand in justice and love. So when we rest, it can be a rest of peace. Especially this week in Canada as we open accessibility week . A week to remind us all, that there is a mosaic in society, for the secular it is about building spaces that are accessible, healthy inclusion.

For those who are spiritual, I would say it is  a challenge thrown down to actually live the Holy Love and Justice that is the belonging in the story of Pentecost. It is about creating authentic belonging for all in our world, our society, our communities, and our homes, as labels become irrelevant, and it is about the person before us, understanding how they experience the world, advocating and ensuring they have the right resources to thrive, and to be in community with one another.

Are we up to answer the Pentecost Love challenge?

For those who want to argue if this is a pandemic due to numbers of deaths, and that Canadian ER’s have not been overrun…uhm this is harm reduction/prevention in action as community works interdependently to keep all members of society safe. If our politicians were not directed by Health Services, and was the inverse…just look to our neighbours to the south, death tolls from Covid have far surpassed the totals of lives lost in America in Vietnam and Korean wars combined (this attitude is what the Alberta Premier is moving to by tying the hands of Health Services, and referencing it as an “influenza”), or to Sweden which never locked down, and is now paying the price. To my neighbours in YYC, restrictions are easing, but please continue to thinking communally so we can all live safe and healthy lives together.

-End sermon on Pentecost.

-Day 76 Facebook story, just before visiting Calgary’s Sage Hill Wal-Mart mask on, and having many complain about so many people fear mongering by wearing masks (face palm time).

One of the blessings of c-tine, is connections that may not have normally happened, due to the nature of the video call (but I caution thezoom fatigue to be aware of), but some cool things can happen, like the rendition of this song.

Pentecost Song here.

It is a time of ebb and flow, where we are called to experience life differently, could it be in this time of pause, we take a moment to listen deep within for the small still whisper of the Holy, and have those conversations that truly matter with others? And renew bonds of belonging?

Image may contain: text that says "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. DESMOND TUTU NO H8"

 


Love No Qualifiers.

Watch here.

 


A second post was necessary because the Lectionary gave such rich stories from the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament for Sunday June 9– Pentecost Sunday. What’s a lectionary? It is the way readings are designed (one from Hebrew Bible, one Psalm or portion, One Gospel, and One Epistle (letter)) for each Sunday so that in 3 years all texts are touched upon in Sunday worship.  Aside from the birth of the church (Acts 2) and the ancient myth of Babel (Genesis 11) there was a gospel reading (perhaps a youtube video to come)…but there was a Psalm and a writing of Paul that I think speaks to our current time, where politically, religiously and everywhere we are becoming so entrenched we are unable to actually discuss topics for growth.

The last provincial election in Alberta illustrated this point, especially with producing a legislature made up of only 2 parties. Essentially one must say I hold to this or that. The party machines do not have to actually listen to constituents. It also crops up in Environmentalism, sports, religion… no middle ground of consensus or question asking allowed… just blind devotion and if you are not of the blind devotees you are the outsider.

Let’s pause and wonder what that means? The ancient prayer attributed to St. Francis has a line in it about Seeking to understand and not be understood. Even 800 years ago we had this glitch. Listening to build a response, to correct, or to pummel our belief system NOT to actually listen to the person and see what is happening below the surface. This is how we lose the focus on addiction treatment because we treat the addiction not the root causes (lack of belonging, trauma). Why we are lost in a society of chronic anxiety (what if I don’t hold point a or b, then I do not belong, I am not worthy). The list can go on and on.

Over the past several years I was finally sidelined by a life of ministry due to, finally diagnosed, Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (due to a-typical PTSD).  It led to my current book as I entered into the treatment and healing process, Soul Ripples, which first started out as a story of mental health in my family, and then laser pointed to how those stepping stones led to me in ministry, and seeking to answer the question of who is my neighbour?

The answer though is found first, in the quote of Francis of Assisi, seek to understand not be understood. Understand those before me, understand those who came before me, understand how it works within my own life…for creation is interdependent.

This brings us to our first reflective piece from the Psalms. These are ancient poems, prayers, hymns and songs that reflect the story of God with Creation, and Creation with God, in all its glory and ugliness. Consider these words from Psalm 104: 24-35 (ESV):

Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom have you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the sea, great and wide,
    which teems with creatures innumerable,
    living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
    and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.[b]

27 These all look to you,
    to give them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die
    and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your Spirit,[c] they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works,
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke!
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
    and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!

 

In our thankfully dying or dead Christendom there are three doctrines that have created the inter-generational and cross creation traumas that still permeate our world today. The doctrine of Dominion, Discovery and Colonialism. Colonialism is the might makes right, our god is mightier than your god so we are coming in to take control as we were not there it is now ours (plant a flag if you will) definitely ripples from the ancient world until today (for Trekkies this the Cardassian, Klingon or Romulan mindset). The other is Discovery, which Rev. Mark Tremblay of Knox Presbtyerian in Calgary had an excellent discussion on June 10 about. I will give a sound byte at best, but it is the idea that due to discovery a new land it is now ours to do with as we see fit–our right to exterminate or proselytize at the point of the sword as we see fit (carried through from at least the Crusades, but also a formed vengeance response in my opinion from how the Roman Empire treated Christians before Constantine converted circa 325 CE making Christianity and Empire Religion and birthing Christendom). All these backed up by politically informed translations of ancient stories and teachings (as even after Protestantism, the churches were mostly driven by Monarchs ruling by divine right).

Doctrine of Dominion comes out of the stories in Genesis 3, original sin or blessing depending on your point of view, as Adam and Eve are removed from the garden they are given the earth… The idea that fuels dominion is it is ours to basically use as we see fit.Which has led to some atrocious practices overtime. The rise of environmentalism is a good thing for it recaptures that we were blessed to be caretakers of creation for it is interdependent with us. This is what we can learn and share with our Indigenous family. The challenge is to understand what that means.

Instead as we work to move through the death of Christendom how to care for creation has become screaming echo chambers where you are either a dominionist or an environmentalists. That is wrong. Extremism exists in all movements. Why I say it is wrong because it removes all of the human family from the equation, it accepts a some left behind philosophy which is not what resonates within the words of this Psalm. For Canada today it is becoming the bridge of healing, and seeking to understand. Declaring a ban on single use plastics is not effective. What is effective is a discussion with all who will be impacted. It can be as fascious as I dislike paper straws to some persons with disabilities who literally need a single use plastic straw to drink for life.

What do you do with this? You do not knee jerk to answer with whatever your stock answer is. You do not throw out terms of medical exemptions to further stigmatize. You talk to citizens and stake holders and find out what is possible. What can be easily banned (plastic bags can be replaced by hemp, or compostable bags) and challenge industry of cigarettes that filters are no longer allowed, you then move to the challenge looking at places like Nordic countries that have ways to transform garbage to energy. See what begins happening? You look to a problem, you address it in a way that comes to a solid grounding of moving through and dealing with the issue with the best impact to creation as a whole, but no citizen is left behind. For change management understand that every change is a form of grieving, for some losses have been compounding regardless of ideology and for health, to end hate and anger, we need to address it honestly, openly and give space for healthy release and redirection.

Why?

Well, see I think if you hold to the words of Jesus of Nazareth, then you have to think of Paul. He was a lynch mob leader, high religious authority that through mystical experience came to discover what authentic love and belonging were (what God’s love is big enough for all, no qualifiers? Yes it is, Jesus said so). Anywho…look at this reminder language as Paul tries to break the ideological entrenchment of insider/outsider in the early church between Jewish and Non-Jewish believers in a letter he wrote to the gathering in Rome (Romans 8:14-17):

 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[a] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

This is why Christendom was politics, power and control. It was explicitly what Jesus and his early followers fought against. It created a caste system and, in the vernacular of some old police procedural shows and mysteries “NHI” (no humans involved). Paul echoed as strongly as he could that the old ways, the old chains were shattered, we were family. The adoption language has been used to enforce the barbarism of Christendom, most recently Residential Schools in Canada, for it allows the idea that it is up to us to be a refuge and civilization-share the faith, the nice language we cloak our institutionalized genocide in, because they were “heathen” or NHI.

But here’s the thing…Jesus was adopted by Joseph. The Empire saw Jesus, Joseph and Mary as NHI, even those Jesus built community with it is how the religious saw those folks. Hitting close to home? Who are the NHI or your movement? May not be overt hate statements, could be like the straw ban, well y’know but the planet…

Or it could be the old stand by “I hate the sin, but love the sinner”…

Nope.

Family.

Love no qualifiers.

It is the qualifiers where we get into trouble. It is in Dominion, Discovery, and Colonialism. As we continue to reconcile, speak truth, and attempt to listen where our structures do not allow for true healing. Where we have a report after listening of decades of Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls where it fits definitions of genocide but international law does not allow for statements to be made strongly to that effect. In essence those that would take the stand could then be the one’s prosecuted for it, which is not right. We are the grandchildren of a system, echos are still reverberating, but what drove it is dead or dying…the Quiet Revolution Quebec had in the 1930-1940’s, is echoing across Canada.

But we do need to listen, and not to respond or continue to slam with facts. We need to listen to those that affirm, question, and deny… listen to understand what is happening in their own hearts. You can not destroy hate and anger with more hate and anger, but you can heal it with love.

And some savvy words spoken in wisdom…for wherever one is on the spectrum of whether it was genocide or not…one thing as a nation we need to truly affirm is that those commissioned to protect us as citizens, our police forces/services, have allowed serial rapists and serial killers to propagate unchecked within our borders for decades because of who the victims were.

We let horrors happen to our neighbour, because we did not want to look in the mirror and challenge our underlying assumptions of life. Which truly, if you have taken on the Christian Journey as laid out by our Brother Jesus of Nazareth, it is a constant re-examining…

When you approach ethics, morality, values and those undervalued who are your NHI’s?

Are you willing to leave someone unprotected or behind to remain unchallenged or comfortable in your ideology?

Or

Are you willing to listen, and love for a better world.


43 The apostles were doing many miracles and signs, and everyone felt great respect for God. 44 All the believers were together and shared everything. 45 They would sell their land and the things they owned and then divide the money and give it to anyone who needed it. 46 The believers met together in the Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts. 47 They praised God and were liked by all the people. Every day the Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers.

-Acts 2: 43-47 (New Century Version)

Pentecost is celebrated as the birthday of the Christianities. The time when the Holy Spirit (Ghost/Breath) swept through the people. It was the moment that even those who had journeyed, worked and served with Brother Jesus truly felt the Holy Mystery come alive in them. That piece of cosmic dust, intrinsic soul self aflame.

When they heard this noise, a crowd came together. They were all surprised, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were completely amazed at this. They said, “Look! Aren’t all these people that we hear speaking from Galilee? Then how is it possible that we each hear them in our own languages? We are from different places

-Acts 2:6-8 (NCV)

The time when a middle-class fisherman from Galilee and his brethren stood in metropolitan and mutli-cultural town square. Where those that feared inclusion, and belonging still rattled the chains on segregation and fear. What came through though in the first act of this mysterious Spirit?

Understanding.

Profound act of kindness, love and belonging. Dropping one’s walls. In this story, the most dramatic way possible, the shattering of linguistic walls so the story of all encompassing love and hope could be heard. The idea of what Empire had been built upon- personal wealth, personal power, certain individuals seen as people and others as property—Empire values, where everything is a commodity, and the only value is the one of your own independent self, and corporate responsibilities and rights were not a priority.

          Think of how badly the Christianities have inverted the Pentecost message?

Acts of Apostles 2, New Century Version

The act of understanding allows for something more profound in the counter movement to power. The power, that the religious and political authorities clung to and tried to discredit.

Belonging

We belong because the labels that separate us are not real. They are arbitrarily given based on politics, geography, socio-economics, culture, religion, etc. Some may be helpful to find ways to fully include us in society (i.e. supports for those with disabilities), but only if they are used to discover inclusion and belonging. Sadly, we function too much like the religious and political authorities of 2000 years ago and since. The labels are used to build fear and segregation, active/passive eugenics. The inevitable outcome is hatred. Or to be the anti-thesis of the Jesus community four letters: H-A-T-E.

Pentecost was the celebration of the disenfranchised, marginalized and silenced voice of society speaking out of joy, peace, hope and faith. Speaking out that rattled the bell for justice and shattered bonds. For the intrinsic value of you, heard the intrinsic value in me (and vice-versa). It showed there was a multitude of ways to be community, to be me and to be you. None of these were a threat.

Pentecost if fully embraced, should have shattered the chains that bound the world. Instead we use it as an opiate to pacify the masses tied to a religious traditionalism that fears the true message. This was apparent with how shocked and viral Bishop Curry’s homily at the Royal Wedding was. He spoke like the followers on Pentecost. He was heard. The most offensive four letter word of the human language was once again proclaimed loudly, and was once again debated and attempted to be sidelined.

That word:

L-O-V-E.

So if Pentecost doesn’t begin the dialogue of inclusion, understanding and belonging for all in your community…then the Spirit has not blown through. What has blown through is the rigidity holding the structure of oppression together.

Are you ready for the breath?


We spend some time of our liturgical year in Pentecost, but what is this? Simple, it is the birth of the early church. It is the time when each of the followers of Christ go forward after his ascension and plant their own communities, a time when the church truly exists in diversity.

The interesting point is to realize that the speaking in tongues at Pentecost is not what we see it as today, rather Peter and his friends were speaking their language and all those in the marketplace heard their native tongue. Pentecost is the season when we celebrate the diversity of the church.


2nd Sunday After Pentecost

June 26, 2011 @ Prince of Faith Lutheran Church

Announcements

Opening Song: #6 Blessed be God
Forever

Welcome

Opening Prayer/Lighting of the Christ
Candle:

God grant me
the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

Amen

Passing the Peace

May the Peace of Brother Jesus be
within each of you

            And also with you.

Centering Song: #47 Servant Song

A Time of Centering

Prayers of the Community: Rummaging for God

Children’s Time: Lepers, Lepers, Everywhere…

Today’s story is about Francis of Assisi discovering the
beauty of all God’s children, and that we are all one in God.

Readings:

Jeremiah 28:5-9

Romans 6:12-23

Gospel: Matthew 10:40-42

Sermon: Recovering Christian?

The Great Thanksgiving:

A
time of silence to communion with the Holy Mystery, if you wish to speak out
that which you are thankful please do.

Rainbow Creed (2000’s)

From
a house church reformation plant, still active in 3 households continentally.

We
are not alone,

we live in God’s world. We believe in God:

who has created and is creating,

A Holy Mystery

who has come in Jesus,

the Word made flesh,

born of a teenage peasant,

to reconcile and make new,

Within the family of the Holy Spirit

Love pours out to all.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:

to celebrate God’s Love, hope, and communion with us,

to live with respect in Creation,

to love and serve others,

to seek justice and resist evil,

to proclaim Jesus, crucified for his message of inclusion and change

and risen in glory witnessed by those he loved,

Brother Jesus our hope In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.

We are not alone.

Thanks be to God.

Hallejuah

Mystic
Lord’s Prayer

O Source of the Wave,

which envelops and
embraces the cosmos,

sustaining and renewing it
at each moment,

Penetrate the deepest
recesses of our hearts,

and there create a space
for thy holy shrine.

In this nuptial chamber,

conceive the creative
potency of thy Reign,

So that we may give birth
to the embodiment of thy desire:

As from the emanation, so
too in form.

With passion and soul let
us generate

that which is needed to
sustain life this day.

Release us from the
bondage of our karma,

as we free others from the
captivity of their guilt.

And do not let
superficiality cause us to vacillate,

but rather free us from
all that impedes growth.

For from thee bursts forth
all that

dignifies, gives life, and
astonishes,

from cycle to cycle,
restoring wholeness. Amen.

 

The Story of the Friends…

Bread
of Life

Cup
of Promise

Amen.

Communion Songs: P of F Singers

Father we
Sing Your Praises

Joy is Like
the Rain

Offering: A time to share our gifts.

Offering Music: #20 Great Things
Happen

Closing Song: #49 Companions on the
Journey

Blessing (Rise and look at one
another):

The Lord bless you and keep you.

May He show His face to you and have mercy.

May He turn His countenance to you and give you peace.

The Lord bless you!

 


Who do we follow? That is what today’s journey through contemplation and sermon is about. Asking ourselves do we follow the printed bible? Do we follow the crucified Christ? Do we follow the empty tomb? Do we follow the Ascended Lord?

OR do we follow the living and present word of God, Jesus the Christ? Today is about discovering what the idea of following the Way of Christ is actually all about. Our altar is set up to reflect this, with the only present thing being one lone Christ candle reflecting the light of Christ shining through us to the world.

As with last week we are offering our time, talent and treasures. We invite the children and children at heart forward to create art throughout the service to be placed in the altar area at the time of offering, and encourage other members to write their worship pledge for the week.

Please join us in the prayer of the lighting of the Christ Candle.