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2010-5-23, Pentecost

2010-5-23, Pentecost

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Published by: cceureka on May 26, 2010
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Christ ChurchEureka CaliforniaPentecost SundayActs 2:1-21, Psalm 104:25-35, 37, Romans 8:14-17John 14:8-17, (25-27)May 23, 2010The Rev. Ron W. Griffin“Missing the Obvious”
O
God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them thelight of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things,and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, wholives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen.
John 14:8-17 (25-27)
P
hilip said to Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." Jesus said tohim, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoeverhas seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'? Do you notbelieve that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do notspeak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am inthe Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the worksthemselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that Ido and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will dowhatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in myname you ask me for anything, I will do it."If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he willgive you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom theworld cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, becausehe abides with you, and he will be in you." "I have said these things to you while I am stillwith you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, willteach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you;my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts betroubled, and do not let them be afraid."
 
 Good morning.How do you make $.30 with two coins if one of them is not a nickel, the answer ina minute.This newspaper report comes from the Hudson Register-Star, “The ColumbiaCounty courthouse in Hudson, N.Y., finally has a handicapped-accessible water fountain.The fountain was installed after a now-7-year-old report noted deficiencies under theAmericans with Disabilities Act. "We're doing that for every building," promises PublicWorks Commissioner David Robinson. "We want to satisfy the settlement agreement."The new fountain may not fully satisfy the law however, they seemed to havemissed the obvious, and it’s on the courthouse's second floor, which is accessible only bystairsOk, how do you make $.30 with two coins if one of them is not a nickel? You havea quarter and a nickel. The quarter is one of the coins that is not a nickel. Obvious whenou think about it, but the Obvious is often missed.y Today is Pentecost Sunday and in our first scripture from the Acts of the Apostles,this reading is part of our lectionary every year. The author Luke who is also the writer of the Gospel separates the events of Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost into threedistinct highlights and the Holy Spirits arrival on this major Jewish harvest holiday isrecounted here. As the crowd gets noisier and more confrontational, the disciple nowApostle Peter steps forward to interpret all that is happening. Luke portrays this as newuncharted energetic territory for the disciples. The Church has returned again and again tothis scripture and refers to Luke’s account as the “church’s birth day", reminiscencing howpowerful the Holy Spirit once seemed, and how strong the witness of the new church onceappeared.Our gospel today takes us in a very different direction. This section in John’sgospel is like a great fishing spot. We have been returning to this portion of John again andagain. These words sometimes printed in red type, mark the words of Jesus in the farewelldiscourse. Our gospel begins with Phillips frustration "Show us the Father," "Show us theFather and it will be enough for us." Jesus seems to be taken back. How could they havemissed the obvious? If you've seen me, then you have seen the Father."As today’s Pentecost text, John is telling us not to miss the obvious. The focus isnot on the bizarre or paranormal but on transparency of the Son to the Father—and byextension the transparency of the disciples to both the Son and the Father through the HolySpirit.Phillip however speaking for the others is calling for something else. The discipleshad seen Jesus, walked with Jesus, watch Jesus. They had seen him weep at a friend’sgrave. They probably remembered Jesus laughing, playing with little children, expressingsurprise, nodding off to sleep from fatigue, talking after a meal over a particularly goodglass of wine.Is that like God?
 
They recalled the times his chin quivered; his eyes filled with tears, his voice thick nd wooly with emotion.a Is that like God?Jesus who personified God and was promising to leave a transparent transformingconnection, for all future generations of believers, a lot of it was so seemingly….wellnormal. John’s gospel goes on to tell us the disciples missed this transforming gift of theHoly Spirit in such seeming normal ways as they projected Jesus in a different role. Onlymuch later after Easter did the disciples piece it together and realize that theirs had been asacred journey in time with God, transparently revealed in Jesus and now would berevealed and transformed in them through the Holy Spirit.Of all the persons of the Trinity, I suppose the Holy Spirit is the hardest to define.Most of us can begin to describe the other two; God the creator of all things. Only a verysmall percentage of all human beings believe there is no God.Jesus who was human like us, yet God who was here for a particular time on earth,the gospels the first four books of the New Testament are dedicated to telling us this goodews of what God did through Jesus.n But how do we describe God the Holy Spirit; to our friends, to our children, to ourrandchildren?g When we speak of the Holy Ghost, that can bring up references of the bizarre, andHoly Spirit implies something without substance. Characteristics of steam, fire, and aDove, are brought to mind but the obvious that is often missed is the Spirit’s humanconnection. Even Jesus had a hard time helping us with a definition we could hold on to.“The Spirit blows where it chooses”, you hear the sound of it but you do not know where itcomes from of where it goes.” It’s as if the Holy Spirit appears to reside on the Dark Sideof the Moon, from some past history, obscured and often miss recognized, and in our dayore emphasis placed on the gifts than for the giver.m In the late second century Theophilus writing to a friend in
Three books of  Autolycu
s is persuading him of the truth of Christianity, Theophilus is the first Christianauthor to use the word Trinity.This early Bishop of Antioch does not use the name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,rather the Trinity is God, God’s Word, and God’s wisdom. As Jesus is united with God,the church will be connected to the wisdom of God the Holy Spirit. What was Godbreathing in Jesus the Word, will become God’s Wisdom breathing in Christians. The Giftof the Advocate and counselor Jesus promised would begin a time for God to be borngain-not in one body but in a body of believers.a There have now been many books written about the Holy Spirit, and you can’t gothrough the TV channels and stop on any religious programming for very long and not hearabout the Holy Spirit. In a day when Pentecostal power and Pentecost is connected ninetimes out of ten with the bizarre, fantastical, and the paranormal it’s important for us todaynot to miss the transformational, quite normal role that Jesus suggests for the Holy Spirit intoday gospel. So what does a truly Spirit-wise person look like? Well, perhaps more earthyand normal than we have been led to believe.

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