Homily for Pentecost 2018

Homily for Pentecost Sunday 2018
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

So, what do you think was going on in Galatia?
I mean: what was happening that occasioned St. Paul
to write to them about: 
immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery and hatred;
rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of anger and selfishness,
dissension, factions, envy, drinking bouts and orgies - and the like! 
How ‘bout those Galatians!

Or was St. Paul simply trying to mark out clearly the two sides
in that internal tug-of-war we all experience
in different ways and at different times in our lives?
St. Paul’s dirty laundry list here might not generally describe our lives,
but we all know the inner struggle that’s ours
when we’re tempted by: 
false gods and superstitions,
over-indulgence, immorality, lust and impurity;
hatred and anger and discord;
selfishness and rivalry, jealousy and envy - and the like! 
And all of those things in our thoughts, in our words, in our deeds
and in what we’ve done and in what we’ve failed to do.

All of these are temptations all of us face
and they’re temptations that usually look more attractive
before the fact than in hindsight.

And if you’re thinking that list doesn’t really apply to you,
then measure yourself against the standard of the other side
of that internal tug-of-war.
Measure yourself against the standard of the Holy Spirit.
I may not be altogether accurately characterized
by Paul’s list of nastiness,
but am I better described and known as: 
loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, generous,
faithful, gentle and always in self-control? 
Am I better known
by the movement of God’s Spirit within me?

If we’re honest, I’ll bet that most of us find ourselves
not at either extreme but rather,
somewhere in the middle, somewhere in between.
There are two sides in this internal tug-of-war
and the question for the Christian is this:
which side do I want to be on?
And for the Christian,
 “somewhere in the middle, somewhere in between,”
is not a sufficient answer.

Jesus asks more of us than that
and gives us the gifts of the Holy Spirit
to help us choose the better side, and those gifts are: 
wisdom           understanding right judgment 
courage           knowledge       reverence 
and wonder  and awe in God’s presence: 
all gifts we receive to help us make the better choice 
- in all our thoughts, all our words and all our deeds.

But sometimes, even often, these are gifts we’ve never opened.

Imagine that this box is filled with the Spirit’s gifts
and left on the doorsteps of our minds, our hearts and our lives.

Imagine that this box contains everything I need
to choose the better side,
to make the right decisions in that internal, spiritual tug-of-war.

So that when I'm being selfish and foolish,
I can pray to be filled with the gift of wisdom...
And when I'm confused and confounded,
I can pray for the gift of understanding...

And when I have choices to make,
especially the hard choices
of morality and purity, of truth and love, of selflessness,
I can pray for the gift of right judgment...

And when I find it hard to say and to do what I know is right,
I can pray for the strength of my convictions,
for the gift of courage…

And when I realize how much I don't know
about my relationship with God,
I can pray to be filled with the gift of knowledge...

And when I see that I only pray selfishly, when I want something,
I can pray for the gift of humble reverence...

And when I think or act as I’m the center of the universe,
I can pray for gift of standing humbly before God and all creation…

There’s a box of gifts like this in the heart of everyone here
and that box of the Spirit’s gifts is waiting to be opened
and the gifts inside used, enjoyed and shared.

Which of these seven gifts are you most in need of?
And if you think you need two or three of those -
if you’re like me, you think you need all seven and that’s ok
because all seven are the gifts we’ve been given.

In the spiritual tug-of-war inside each of us,
God calls us to the Spirit’s side.
No Christian - no Christian - is called to a mediocre faith,
a faith somewhere in the middle, in between.
Each of us is called to excellence
and each of us is given the Spirit’s grace and gifts
to help us choose the better part, to choose to strive to be: 
loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, generous, faithful and gentle, 
not the servants of our temptations but always, with God’s help,
surrendering control of our hearts to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit’s gifts are fed and nourished
every time we come to the Lord’s Table to share in the Eucharist.

Pray with me that the gift of Christ’s life,
given once for us on the Cross
and offered to us now at this altar,
that the gift of Christ’s life open the gifts of the Spirit within us
and help us, always, to choose the life of grace.

The Holy Spirit is always nudging us, prompting us
to open and use the gifts that are ours.
Ever time, every time we feel the Spirit moving in our hearts,
every time we feel the Spirit moving in our hearts,
let us pray
to follow where the Spirit leads.

Every Time I Feel the Spirit!

Every time I feel the Spirit
moving in my heart I will pray.
Yes, every time I feel the Spirit
moving in my heart I will pray.

1 Up on the mountain, when my Lord spoke,
out of God's mouth came fire and smoke.
Looked all around me, it looked so fine,
till I asked my Lord if all was mine.

2 Jordan River, chilly and cold,
it chills the body but not the soul.
There is but one train upon this track;
it runs to heaven and then right back.


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!