Pentecost        June 8, 2014   Gray UMC

Sunday, June the 8th is Pentecost Sunday and I will be preaching at the 9:30am LifeSong worship service at Gray UMC. LifeSong is a gathering of 20somethings through Baby boomers who find liturgical tradition too heavy a burden to suit their communal worship needs. The Order of Worship is simple and set with lay leadership throughout.

The LifeSong worshiping community may or may not have an extensive education of the Bible. And even though some may remember Bible memory verses from the Sunday school era of the 50’s through 80’s, some may have not fully pieced together the Gospel meta-narrative.

My sermon this Sunday will attempt to structure a stout background of the Holy Spirit by narratively weaving a history spanning from Genesis through Pentecost. For the sake of timeliness, I will have to pick and choose scriptures. The main focus will be that the coming of the Holy Spirit was, is and always is active. This activity finds root in God’s deep desire for intimacy with humankind.

The idea of intimacy will be explored. I understand intimacy the how available we make ourselves to be known by others. As levels of safety and trust rise, our ability to share more of ourselves deepens. The narrative story from Genesis to Pentecost is a gentle statement for God’s effort throughout history and a reason for our trust to rise toward God and God’s work through the Holy Spirit. Our best response toward God’s action is vulnerability.

Just as the disciples gathered in the upper room with their emotions of uncertainty, fright and weakness, we are most malleable by God’s Spirit when we own our pain and invite God to give ear to our complaint. Our vulnerably is a gift to God. With that gift the Spirit of God can live in us by way of spiritual intimacy.

John S. Dunne provides a wonderful quote from his book The Reasons of the Heart:

 Our minds’ desire is to know, to understand, but our hearts desire is intimacy, to be known, to be understood.  To see God with our mind would be to know God, to understand God; but to see God with our heart would be to have a sense of being known by God, of being understood by God.  

This is a rough outline:

Genesis 2:1 – The Holy Spirit in creation

The nature of Eden pre-fall “God walked with humans” (intimacy defined)

The Spirit working through Kings  1 Samuel 16:13-14 (God’s Spirit mediated)

The Spirit working through Prophets  Zechariah 7:11-12 (God’s Spirit mediated)

The work of Jesus (Intimacy offered)

Pentecost – God’s Spirit is available to all; one on one Acts 2:1-3

As prescribed in Joel: Acts 2:17-21

The emotional state of the disciples when the Spirit descended

It is one thing to know of God but it is another to be known by God.  This is a God worth letting in.

Intimacy is inviting God to know all of us – during all of our human emotional states