What In The World Is He Doing? David R. Tullock March 1, 2005 Acts 2:1-21 I like Sundays with big words: Annunciation, Christmas, Epiphany, Transfiguration, Passion, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. Big words mean big things have happened. Today’s big word is Pentecost. It always occurs fifty days after Easter, and it is the celebration of the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Are you yawning or cheering? This is the day to celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit! Do you realize that all the big words before Pentecost would drop with a thud like wingless doves if it were not for Pentecost when the next chapter of God’s redeeming work continued with His presence through the Holy Spirit Not only do these big word Sundays mean that something big has happened, they also mean that something mysterious has happened, and I like mystery, too. I don’t understand people who don’t. There is no event in New Testament life that is more mysterious that the coming of the Holy Spirit, yet we are restless with its mystery. There is something about it that unsettles us so much that we think that we have to package it in a formula or a certain emotion. No day in the life of the church exposes our lack of trust of mystery more than Pentecost. To be honest, I would like to be about to point to something and say, “There it is. There is the Spirit of God.” I would like to experience an emotion that I could say was the presence of God. I would like to be able to tell you this morning that God’s Spirit is here and there it is!” But, I can’t. The Holy Spirit is illusive and unpredictable. It is, well, mysterious. I can tell you one thing for certain. When you hear someone say, “That’s it! And if you don’t see it, then you don’t have it!” they don’t see it either. Jesus told Nicodemus that “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Karl Rahner in Poetry and the Christian says it well: “If God’s incomprehensibility does not grip us in a word, if it does not draw us into his superluminous darkness, if it does not call us out of the little house of our homely, close-hugged truths. . . we have misunderstood the words of Christianity.” What do we need to understand about how God uses his Holy Spirit to “call us out of our little house of homely, close-hugged truths?” First, let me say a good word about these homely, close-hugged truths. We all have them. They are important because they serve as our compass in daily life. We have to trust them because they are all we have sometimes to make proper decisions. The problem comes when these homely, close-hugged truths become the spirit for us. It is so easy to concertize what our perception of what God has done when in fact it may not have anything to do with God at all. It may have to do with our family’s way of thinking, or our cultures or our political parties, or even a popular fad and we hug them closely as if they were God. A corrective of this kind of philosophy is the Holy Spirit, blowing in ways and directions that is counter to family, culture, political parties and popular fads, calling us out of our” little house of homely, close-hugged truths.” Simply put, that is what God is doing in the world today, calling us from ourselves into Himself. To participate in what God is doing, we must understand that the Holy Spirit is personal. The Spirit is a “who” not a “what.” Jesus refers to the Spirit as one who relates like a “He.” The Holy Spirit is the living, personal Spirit of Jesus. The way we know Jesus and his way of life is through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is also the living presence of God with His people wherever they are. It is the Holy Spirit of God who draws us together each Sunday for worship. It is the Spirit that teaches us to “love one another as He has loved us.” It is the Spirit which draws us to him in Holy Communion. It is the Spirit of God who girds himself to serve us at the table. It is the Holy Spirit who makes the mysterious transaction that occurs to make it possible for us to experience the Presence at the table. So on this big word Sunday called Pentecost, let me remind you that the giving of the Holy Spirit to us is not an end but a means. Like water on a tiered fountain this Spirit flows from God, to Jesus, to the Apostles, to us and splashes on the entire world. This also means that your gifts, whatever they are, are part of the indispensable whole that the Spirit is bringing into being. Maybe you never thought about it that way before. Paul doesn’t say “to some;” he says, “to each.” That means that every one of us has a gift from the Spirit to offer to all the others “for the common good.” “If you don’t know what your gifts are you can confidently expect to find out. But I warn you. It will mean that God will call you out of your “house of homely, close-hugged truths.” That’s what He does. Prayer: In a moment of madness, O God, we gave ourselves to you. It was a moment of divine madness, that changed our lives. Now we spend all of our days looking for such moments, hoping to confirm what we felt before or to discover new creations of what it means to follow you. Therefore we pray for a special feeling of your presence now in our midst as we worship, that when we go from this place it will be with new courage, and with hope that our experience for you does order life and give it meaning beyond the momentary pleasures and sorrows of daily existence. Convert our gift – and us – into living sacrifices that will make the poor rejoice, the wounded heal, the lonely discover love. And let all our moments become moments of such madness. Through the One who died on a cross and was raised to newness of life, Christ our Lord. Amen. _________________________ Sermon brief provided by: David R. Tullock, pastor of Parson’s Porch, a ministry in Cleveland, TN Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.