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Pentecost Sunday at FCC

Pentecost Sunday – Born in Fire

Pentecost Sunday – Born in Fire

 

  1. Happy Birthday to the Church! – She’s turning 39 for the 50th+ time
    1. She’s old enough to date … or not
    2. Old enough to vote … or not
    3. Old enough to go to war … or not
    4. Old enough to drink … or not
    5. At least we’re old enough to know better…uh…well, not that either
      1. & that’s kind of our tension, isn’t it? We have these expectations of the Church and of our sister & brother Christians.
      2. And yet, so often, we don’t live up to any of those expectations

 

  1. Born by Fire – The Church is birthed in a Rushing Wind & Fire!
    1. It is a turbulent, transformative, and terrifying birth
    2. Fear/hiding in the upper room & courage/preaching in the temple
    3. Condemnation of the powers, politics, and privilege of the status quo
    4. Personal sacrifice & communal sharing for the greater good of believers

 

  1. Burned by Fire – Christians carry it with Carelessness & Cruelty
    1. We hurt those outside the fellowship
      1. What God meant for inclusion, we turn into exclusion
      2. What God meant for love, we turn into condemnation
    2. We hurt one another within the fellowship
      1. What God meant to unify, we turn into division
      2. What God meant to inspire, we turn into oppression
    3. We hurt those within our own congregation
      1. What God meant to heal, we turn into a weapon
      2. What God meant to invite in, we turn into turning out

 

  1. Warmed by Fire – Welcoming Bonfire to Humanity
    1. Speaking in Tongues = All people are invited in
      1. Each person heard in their own language!
      2. No confusion. No chaos.
    2. A continuation of God’s saving narrative, his plan of salvation
      1. Jonah & forgiveness for the Ninevites (Assyrians)
      2. Joel & pouring out the Spirit for ALL PEOPLE
    3. Sons & Daughters / Women & Men … this is revolutionary!
      1. The world does not elevate women at this time in history
      2. The Way & the grace of the Gospel is the greatest equalizer
    4. Peter shows us again that God can use anyone to do his great work
      1. We preach for 30 minutes and we’re lucky if 3 are saved
      2. Peter preached for 3 minutes and 3,000 were saved.
    5. The “Hound of Heaven” is a searching God

 

  1. Led by Fire – A Guiding Lighthouse in a Dark/Dangerous World
    1. We Congregationalists traveling this Pilgrim path should
      1. Embody well that light of faith in Christ along this journey of life as our ancestors sacrificed personal comforts for faith freedom.
      2. Understand the dangers of that fire when wielded as a weapon since we have both been tempted by fundamentalism, giving in to burning each other as witches for the sake of power & control as well as enduring oppression by controlling state institutionalism.
      3. Welcome and walk along side to everyone on the journey of faith, no matter who they are or whether we agree with them or not. After all, don’t we say here, “All Are Welcome”?
  1. Our community needs a lighthouse, and we are people of the light.

 

  1. So let us be encouraged anew on this birthday of the church!
    1. Let us remember and not forget that we were Born of Fire
    2. Let us be mindful of others & careful to Burn or be Burned Fire
    3. Let us be faithful & gracious so that we all may be Warmed by Fire
    4. Let us be humble & teachable so that we may be Led by Fire
    5. Let us be Spirit led people bringing heat & light into a cold dark world

 

And now, let us come together in the common unity of our faith community here, to partake in the grace & mercy of our Lord Christ Jesus in this meal at this table, gifted to us while we were yet in darkness; undeserving, selfish, & small minded as we were. And let us be lifted again into forgiveness, love, & unity as beloved children of our divine Father who is faithful & kind to us even while we are so often divisive & cruel to one another. Because the nature of his love & grace are abundant and undeserved.

At this table we remember how Jesus, on the very night he was betrayed …

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