This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost! Often we focus on the image of flame on Pentecost Sunday, but this time we will also incorporate water. Our common wisdom and even familiar colloquialisms would tell us that fire and water never go together. One is generally considered a direct opposite of the other. But those who have had the opportunity to see the beautiful Hawaiian islands might remind us of the amazing creations that are made possible.
17In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young will see visions. Your elders will dream dreams. 18Even upon my servants, men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19I will cause wonders to occur in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and a cloud of smoke. 20The sun will be changed into darkness, and the moon will be changed into blood, before the great and spectacular day of the Lord comes. 21And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
37On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted, “All who are thirsty should come to me! 38All who believe in me should drink! As the scriptures said concerning me, Rivers of living water will flow out from within him.”
Consider these questions:
- Do you know about the Christian day of Pentecost? If so, where/when did you learn about it?
- Our Acts scripture is Peter’s response once the disciples have done something unusual in response to God. Have you ever had to defend your faith?
- In the John scripture, Jesus stands up and shouts – presumably in a sizable crowd. How do you feel about calling attention to yourself? How do you feel about calling attention to your faith life?
- The fire/water concept can seem like a contradiction. What are other ways you have experienced contradiction in a positive way?
Post-Sermon Update on 6/7
Video from the sermon can be found by clicking this link (will open in a new tab). The sermon begins at around the 40-minute mark.
For this Pentecost, we explored the idea of the Spirit’s power being given to all persons – even beyond the ways our culture or our own comfort may suggest separation. This gift of God’s Spirit – in my eyes – do not come with permission to sit back and let the gift waste away. God’s Spirit is given and we dishonor God’s gift if we do not use it! Even so, we may feel challenged to proudly and boldly proclaim our faith and the gifts God invites us to share. Thankfully, we are nourished by the Living Water proclaimed by Jesus repeatedly in the Gospel of John.
Consider these questions:
- In what ways do you feel God’s Holy Spirit empowering you? What gift has the Holy Spirit placed on/in/within you? Another way to ask the question is this: What is your spiritual gift?
- How do you use this gift? If you don’t use it, explore the reasons.
- Have you received more than one spiritual gift?
- What has changed in your faith life as a result of using your spiritual gift(s)? What has changed as a result of not using your spiritual gift(s)?
- Considering this exploration, are there any changes you might consider when it comes to using the gift(s) you’ve been given?