Pentecost FireI’m thrilled with the two texts for this Pentecost Sunday: Acts 2:1-4 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-13. The Working Preacher commentary is found here.

There’s a song at Passover sung during the Seder. It is called Dayenu, and it tells the story of the Exodus, one detail at a time, and after every detail, the people sing, Dayenu! It would have been enough!

If God had brought us out from Egypt,
and had not carried out judgments against them
Dayenu! It would have been enough.

If God had given us the Torah,
and had not brought us into the land of Israel
Dayenu! It would have been enough!

It would have been enough. Dayenu! It would have been enough if Jesus had died on a cross. Dayenu! It would have been enough if he was raised from the dead! Dayenu! It would have been enough for him to be lifted into the sky! Dayenu! It would have been enough if the Holy Spirit had come! Dayenu! It would have been enough to form a church.

But it didn’t stop there.

The Holy Spirit came, but she didn’t stop with the rush of wind. She didn’t stop with tongues of fire. She didn’t stop with the people understanding the story in their own language.

Dayenu! It would have been enough.

But instead, the Holy Spirit gives us each gifts:  A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good. A word of wisdom is given by the Spirit to one person, a word of knowledge to another according to the same Spirit, faith to still another by the same Spirit, gifts of healing to another in the one Spirit, performance of miracles to another, prophecy to another, the ability to tell spirits apart to another, different kinds of tongues to another, and the interpretation of the tongues to another.

Dayenu!

But the Holy Spirit moves broader than the individuals there that day, bigger than the early church, and keeps moving in each one of us today. She gives us gifts to serve the church, to serve God’s people, and to let love rule in our lives.

Here are some ideas for preaching this Sunday:

  • Pentecost is the birthday of the church. What would you buy her in celebration?
  • The church is in dire need of renewal. How would using the gifts in your congregation help bring about that renewal?
  • The Holy Spirit comes in the spectacular and in the profane. What is a time that God has worked in your live spectacularly and another time God has worked profanely?

What will you preach this Sunday?

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Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).

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12 thoughts on “Narrative Lectionary Leanings: Pentecost Edition

  1. One of my favorite Pentecost poem/prayers. I’ll also share it in the FB group as well.

    Thousand Red Birds

    We clutch our tiny bits of faith in tight fists shoved firmly in our pockets.
    We clutch it suspiciously, so unwilling to let it go we don’t want to lose it.
    We clutch it fearing that once it is spent,we will be without hope, cast adrift, out of luck.
    Help us loosen our grip.
    Help us to pull our hands out of our pockets.
    Help us to uncurl our fingers stiffened over time.
    to grow,to shimmer,to pulse,to explode into the air
    like a
    thousand red birds.

    – Phil Porter

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We’re going to sing “On Pentecost They Gathered” as the opening hymn, and read Rebekah Hutto’s new children’s book “The Day God Made Church” as children’s time, thus covering the Acts reading…and then the liturgist will read the 1 Corinthians 12 text.
    I think I might focus on the varieties of Gifts, Service, Activities–the Spirit equips us for every facet of our lives (activities being work, service being ministry/diakonia), not just for our own benefit but for the common good. That is all I know right now, which is…not very much. lol.

    The top of the bulletin has the Picasso quote about the meaning of life being to find your gift and the purpose of life being to give your gift away.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. OH! PS…Jan Richardson’s book Circle of Grace has some really beautiful Pentecost poetry at the end.

    Here’s one thing
    you must understand
    about this blessing:
    it is not for you alone.
    It is stubborn
    about this.
    Do not even try
    to lay hold of it
    if you are by yourself,
    thinking you can carry it
    on your own.
    To bear this blessing
    you must first take yourself
    to a place where everyone
    does not look like you…
    (there’s lots more after this)

    and

    On the day
    you are wearing
    your certainty
    like a cloak
    and your sureness
    goes before you
    like a shield
    or like a sword,
    may the sound
    of God’s name
    spill from your lips
    as you have never
    heard it before.
    May your knowing
    be undone…
    (lots more of this one too)

    Like

  4. You ask the question: “The Holy Spirit comes in the spectacular and in the profane. What is a time that God has worked in your live spectacularly and another time God has worked profanely?” I’m wondering what led you to use the word profane in relation to spectacular? I was thinking of linking profound after reading John. Could you share some examples that led you to use the word “profane? Or, what kind of answers might you expect from those experiencing worship on Pentecost? Thanks.

    Like

    1. I’m not the author of the post, but I will say that when I read it I thought it was “profane” in the sense that is often used as the opposite of sacred…in that sense, sacred-and-profane, profane means something more like “ordinary” or “unconsecrated”…that may not be what Lia intended but it’s how I heard it. Not sure if that helps.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Sorry for the late answer, revgramma. I am not receiving notifications of posts.

      I am thinking of profane in the sense of the ordinary–the Spirit comes in the ways of the wind, tongues, and fire, but she also comes in the quiet, spacious moments where we open our hearts to peace.

      Like

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