Pour Out

Monday, May 21, 2018

“Pour Out”

Acts 2:1-21

Dawn M. Hand, Executive Pastor/Chief of Staff – Foundry UMC – Washington, DC

Preached sermon on 20 May ’18 at Foundry UMC – Washington, D.C.

 

Today we celebrate Pentecost, which many in Christendom acknowledge as the birth of our church. Pentecost is a festival, 50 days after Easter or the seventh Sunday after Easter. It’s a festival that celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit descending on the Apostles and followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus had ascended to heaven and the disciples were left wondering…

We also celebrate our Confirmation Class. Nine young people have been on a several months journey – exploring, navigating, learning and living into their faith journey. We have been praying for them these last few months and are thankful to God for their journey.

It’s been a bit of a tradition here for the Confirmation to pick a word or two for the preacher to incorporate in his or her sermon. The youth have picked their words and I have covertly embedded them in this meditation… Can’t tell you the words, yet you are invited to stay as alert as possible to pick them out.

Let us pray…

I had the strangest dream one night that I was at a birthday party. The time can for dessert - strawberry shortcake. I got the can of whip cream and sprayed it all around my strawberry shortcake. Oh, I was so excited. Got my spoon, shoved a big serving in my mouth. The next think I now I’m shaking my head and hand and causing a scene. Turns out it was a spray can of shaving cream. Didn’t taste nearly as good.

Pentecost must have been some kind of party – everyone gathered in the room and suddenly a loud sounding wind filled the place and all these folks talking in different languages. Scripture informs us they were astonished and bewildered. Some wondered had they had too much of another type of spirit. I’ve been to a few Foundry parties. I’ll just leave it at that.

Imagine just for a moment you being in the place with Jesus’ disciples. The sounds, the sights, the signs. The perplexities of all that is going on. What would you be thinking? Would you try to slide over, so Spirit would not land on you? Would you position yourself just enough to make sure you received a double dose of Spirit?

Yesterday morning like millions of people, I watched the royal wedding. It was spectacular. It’s a good thing I didn’t have a bad case of iridocyclitis - [ir″ĭ-do-si-kli´tis]. That would have made it more challenging for me. On the hills of the castle, the Royal wedding was in a sense – religious feeling of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious –the word means wonderful, good work.

 I imagine for some in attendance, the wedding was a bit astonishing and perhaps even bewildering. No, it wasn’t a wind ripping through the atmosphere. Folks in fascinators were not running up and down the aisle. Yet, in that place I imagine some were likely thinking – ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing and hearing and experiencing in this place. Well, we certainly know history was made on a number of fronts.

There in Windsor Castle St. George’s Chapel, the officiant invoked Holy Spirit pour out and bless Harry and Meghan. And, the bishop preached an impactful homily on ‘imagine when love is the way.” As I listened to Bishop Curry, I immediately thought – yes – how life would change when love is truly the way. Then he preached about the work of fire.

My friends, what if we truly think about Holy Spirit as a pre-cursor to love.  When God pours out Holy Spirit – it’s this agent that blows in the crevasses of our hearts.  When we receive it and allow Spirit to move us – we could truly live into what God has purposed for us.

 

When the disciples and other followers of Jesus were gathered, they were astonished and perplexed of the way of Spirit and ability of Spirit. It was Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples that reminded them of God’s declaration spoken through the prophet Jo-el (like Noe-el) – “that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams – slaves, men and women, I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”

I don’t want us to miss the fact that people were speaking in their own native languages which suggests there was a full expression of diversity praising God and God’s spirit was poured out on all of them. Through this act, the church grew and multiplied.  

 

The Greek word for pour out is Ekcheo – ek-key-o – which means to bestow liberally.[i] What if in this context we think about Holy Spirit – acting and taking root to do good work.

 

As it was for Jesus’ disciples when they gathered in the holy city of Jerusalem, the same is true for us gathered as Jesus’ disciples right here at Foundry and where ever we gather. For every call we endeavor to join, participate or lead, we yield ourselves to the pouring out of Holy Spirit. Sisters and brothers, there is power in the work of Spirit. Why? Because this is the way of almighty God.

 

God’s pouring out – God’s bestowing liberally of God’s Spirit is an intentional act to shake, stir and propel God’s people along their spiritual journey –

 

            God’s Spirit is poured out for you to prophesy – have you ever spent time in deep prayer and God revealed something to you?   Finally, you had the courage to give voice to that revelation and it came to pass.

 

            God’s Spirit is poured out for you to see visions - what do you vision for your kids, your partner or spouse and family? What do you vision for your life? I know you have thought about it. Is                 Foundry’s vision to Love God. Love each other. Change the world.       -  having an impact in your life and in the lives of this community?

 

           God’s Spirit is poured out to dream dreams – my young friends what do you dream to be or do? What captivates your mind? Church what is your dream for our society? I know here at this church, we dream with other dreamers for a time where all of God’s children in the LGBTQ community will be welcomed valued in the full life of the church. We dream for solutions to chronic homelessness. We dream to have a robust children and youth ministry. We dream for adult discipleship to take deep root in the lives of our community. Does our dream extend enough to include radical racial justice? We are constantly bombarded with news reports what seems like on a weekly basis - some black or brown bodies being miscategorized or mistreated and abused. Let’s join in recalling the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said – “‘I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed –         we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.

 

The work of Holy Spirit is to move us. This is one reason we pray – “Come Holy Spirit.” God is always at work. We are the ones that must be ready to receive and to move forward.

 

Come Holy Spirit – that we might mend and fix broken relationships.

Come Holy Spirit – that we help lift children out of poverty.

Come Holy Spirit – that we work to change laws to protect our kids and youth in schools.

Come Holy Spirit – that we might feed the hungry with food to sustain.

Come Holy Spirit – that we might value the humanity of all beloved people.

Come Holy Spirit – and saturate this vast land and encompass earth.

Come Holy Spirit – and blow in the halls of Justice.

Come Holy Spirit – that our hearts might be inclined to stay in your grace.

 

Sisters and brothers, this is a simple prayer with a whole lot of power. For every action of our ecclesial life, we rely on Holy Spirit.

 

In just a few moments, these confirmands are going to come forward and make their own procession of faith, some will be baptized, some will join in membership. During the liturgy of blessing the water, we will call upon God to pour out God’s Holy Spirit on the water and each of them. In this calling, we are submitting to the power and grace of God’s work. We know that we cannot do this on our own. This – is the work of Holy Spirit.

 

I’m suggesting to you today that a way we as Christians can gear up, can armor up and go out to be the hands and feet and the embodiment of Jesus Christ is to ask God to pour out Holy Spirit. Don’t do if you don’t mean it.

Friends, as I’m wrapping up my time here in fort nite, I must confess to you that are times in my life I find myself feeling a bit irritated and frustrated. If I’m not careful, it can get the best of me. There are times when I call on God to help a sister out. My prayer is something like:

  • Oh God pour out your sweet Spirit to temper my salty spirit.
  • Oh God pour out your cool Spirit to quench my hot-tempered spirit.

 

Siblings, I’m suggesting to you today that a way we as Christians can gear up, can armor up and go out to be the hands and feet and the embodiment of Jesus Christ and love our way through this journey is to ask God to pour out Holy Spirit. Let’s not pray it if we don’t mean it.

 

Note – This written script is a primary basis of the preached word. Extemporaneous preaching accompanies the written script.

 

[i] http://biblehub.com/greek/1632.htm