Welcome to the end of the season of Easter, and one of the only days in the church year that celebrates the work of the Holy Spirit! (Do you know where your red stole is?) RCL texts for this Sunday can be found here, and links to additional resources are available on The Text This Week. You can also find an interpretation of the Acts lesson in three voices in the files on the RevGalBlogPals Facebook page.
This week’s preacher can choose from many adventurous paths! In the Pentecost story of Acts 2, the Spirit of God shows up in Jerusalem, among the faithful people who have gathered there. How does that sound in this week that has seen the USA move their embassy to Jerusalem, in defiance of the UN’s position that the city should have international status, and in contrast to most of their allies who maintain embassies in Tel Aviv? What does it mean to have God’s Spirit poured out on folks in Jerusalem in Scripture, when today the city is filled with protests and violence?
While conflict over gender equality grips the United Methodist Church, how does the Pentecost story inform our response? If “sons and daughters” and “men and women” were good enough for the Spirit, then why not for the church?
While human trafficking plagues nearly every country on earth, how does this story sound to us? While prisoners in the USA continue to suffer near-slavery conditions, how does Pentecost bring good news today? If “slave and free” was good enough for the early church, why not for us today?
The Pentecost story offers countless relevant preaching options for our congregations. But the RCL, as ever, does offer other Scripture passages for the day. Perhaps you are considering Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones. This text can be encouraging for folks trying to breathe life into a project or church or mission that seems to be defeated. God has the power to bring new life!
Psalm 104 rejoices in God’s creativity. This would be a wonderful passage for preaching if you have the option of leading worship outdoors this week! Romans 8 also addresses creation, but highlights the need for renewal. The Spirit will intercede on behalf of the world, even when we don’t’ know how to ask for help.
What direction are you taking this week, dear preacher? What special occasions are happening in your community? How do you plan to address the Word to your context? Please share your reflections and ideas below, along with additional links to other resources you find helpful. Happy writing!
Katya Ouchakof is an ELCA pastor in Madison, WI. If the rain ever stops, she might just finish planting her garden before midsummer. Katya is a contributor to There’s A Woman in the Pulpit, and blogs at Provocative Proclamations.
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