Pentecost! That liturgical holiday when even the most non-emotive & undemonstrative of Christians acknowledge that God as Spirit moves, shakes, shimmies, expresses, exclaims, shouts in many voices, and makes a scene. Even before you engage this Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary texts, you might already have plans & ideas for how to enact a Spirit-filled Pentecost in your congregation — plans that you’ve likely been holding onto since last year’s Pentecost when you thought to yourself, “If only we had… red balloons, huge fans, a brilliant-but-low-risk fire, fill in the blank.”
But don’t forget the texts. And while you consider the texts, I invite you also to pause in your brainstorming to consider Maren Tirabassi’s suggestion that the liturgical celebration of wind & fire potentially overlooks very real devastation being wreaked by wind & fire right now in Alberta, Canada. Just as many of us in the U.S. took great care this past Sunday to be mindful of the pain & sadness that can accompany Mother’s Day, likewise stories of fire can be both treasured (e.g. s’mores over the campfire) and tragic (e.g. a fire that consumes a family farm).
- the common language in Genesis 11:1-9 that contributes to (or at least accompanies) a common vanity among the people who desire to make their mark on history by building a tower to the heavens;
- the tongues full of praise in Psalm 104 — of God celebrating creation, of the psalmist praising the Creator, of the whole earth seeking God’s face & breath for life;
- the language of the Spirit in Romans 8:14-17, testifying on our behalf and calling us children of God, and again in John 14:8-17 & 25-27 as She teaches us in truth;
- and of course the tongues speaking in Acts 2:1-21, no longer in one language but in many languages & dialects so that the Gospel can be understood and the Spirit poured out across many contexts.
(For a poetic reflection on the power of the tongue to harm or heal, I recommend one of my favorite songs, “Speaking of Tongues,” by Michael Franti.)
How is the Spirit moving within you toward Sunday’s sermon? Share your thoughts, brainstorms, questions, and encouragement in the comments!
Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ (US) minister, soccer mom, blogger, and author. Her latest book is Sacred Pause: A Creative Retreat for the Word-weary Christian.
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.