Thursday, May 24, 2018

Is it Pentecost? Or an Ice Cream Truck?

Acts 2: 1-21, 41-47

Video shown at the start of the message time: The Skit Guys: Pentecost. The characters are talking about the excitement of Pentecost and one of them wonders if the sound from heaven they are hearing is an ice cream truck - because what is more heavenly than the sound of an ice cream truck entering your neighbourhood?
During the scripture reading, an emoji version of the reading appeared on the screen - see below for the emoji reading.
These are my notes that I used to speak with the children (and the congregation).

Pentecost is a time of celebration – it is the birthday of the church. Just at the beginning of Acts, Jesus ascended to heaven after spending some good, quality time with the disciples. They witness him rising up towards the sky and they stand there, dumbfounded. What were they to do? How were they going to manage? And then some bright spark says, why are alls y’all standing there just looking up? Jesus is going to return one day. The disciples stop looking up and start looking at each other and realize they have work to do. They return to Jerusalem and go about replacing Judas with Mattias. They begin to pray together in one another’s home and one day, fifty days after Easter Sunday, they find themselves in a unique set of circumstances. What they later can describe only as the Holy Spirit descends upon them and transforms them from the students of Jesus to the apostles carrying on the ministry that Jesus began when he was born into the world as the Word Made Flesh. They were not the only ones affected that day. People from all over the land experienced the Holy Spirit moving that day.
As much as we have tried to contain God to certain images or descriptions, God is so much bigger and mysterious than any language we humans could possible use. We are limited in our understanding and knowledge of the wholeness of what God is and what God can do in our world and in our universe – we have no idea. Which is why Christians have three expressions and understandings of God. We call it the Trinity. While there are many ways to describe them, here is one way – God the Creator, Jesus the teacher and the Holy Spirit, the inspirer.
In an attempt to express how they experience the spirit of God, the early Hebrew People often used the imagery of wind or breath to describe how God moved in their lives. Breath of God – ruach, a Hebrew word meaning wind or breath – refers to Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit
The early Christians experienced the Holy Spirit in the sound of rushing wind but there were earlier cases of the disciples comparing the Holy Spirit to wind…
Book of John – 3:8 – Having just said one must be born of water and Spirit to enter into the kingdom of heaven - The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’
John 20:22 – breath – In the locked room after his resurrection to the disciples Jesus said, “When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Making Wind (We made the sound of a thunderstorm using the campfire game of rubbing our hands together, snapping fingers, clapping hands and stomping our feet as loud as we could.)
Another image the early Hebrew people used for God was fire. Can you remember when fire was used in the Old Testament – Hebrew Scriptures – to represent God? The burning bush. And now today we hear that tongues – not tongs – of fire came down upon the people of God, to show the Holy Spirit moving in their lives. Let us create an image for ourselves.
Making Fire (The children and members of the congregation were invited to come forward to light a bunch of candles in the sand table on the stage. The lit fire at the top of the tall tapers brought to mind what the tongues of fire might have looked like resting above each person at the time of Pentecost.)
We welcomed three new members during this service. Following the service, we shared a potluck meal together, had a Pentecost treasure hunt, sang happy birthday to the church and then shared this awesome cake (made by the great Heather Klekta).

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