Saturday, June 07, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Pentecost Sunday, Year A

Readings for Pentecost, 6/8/14:
Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:24-34, 35b, 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13, John 7:37-39

Acts 2:1-21
  • I have to admit - speaking in tongues is something that I don't connect to, don't understand, and frankly, usually don't take seriously. My only witnessing of speaking in tongues has left me more than a little skeptical. But I can't deny its frequent presence in the scriptures - so where does that leave me? Last year, a girl of approximately 9 year of age read this passage in church on Pentecost, and she whipped through Phrygia and Pamphylia like they were her hometowns. It was amazing. If I think about her reading this passage so flawlessly, I think I can get my head a little bit around the idea of speaking in tongues. When an unlikely vessel communicates an even more unlikely message, with unlikely abilities?
  • Pentecost. In some ways, these scene is one of the most exciting in the Bible. This is the moment of truth - Jesus is dead, risen, and ascended. The disciples have been taught, prodded, encouraged, but most of all, entrusted with the good news. Will they carry it on? Will they stand up in the face of opposition and accusations? Yes! The start of the church.
  • Everyone who calls on God's name will be saved!
  • Notice that Peter quotes how God's spirit is poured out on all flesh: songs, daughter, young, old, slave free. Seriously, where do we get the idea that God only speaks through some people, whom we deem acceptable?
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
  • manifold: many and varied
  • Leviathan: same name as Jonah's whale is given - a big sea 'monster'/creature, or just generally a big thing of its kind: the 'Leviathan' of the redwoods would be the biggest of the trees. (check out Dictionary.com)
  • The dependence of creation on the Creator. While I don't like to think of God hiding God's face from me, the psalmist makes the point that we are dependent on God.
  • "I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being." Amen!
1 Corinthians 12:3b-13:
  • This passage, and the following week's passage from Corinthians, are great passages for congregations. No matter how many times we say that everyone has a ministry, a call to follow from God, it seems our congregants don't really believe that God means them. We will be using these two weeks to do a spiritual gifts inventory in our congregation, or at least spring off from these two weeks of texts. How can we get people to believe that God has blessed, gifted, and called them?
  • The hymn "Many Gifts, One Spirit" is perfect for this occasion, and will bring the message home. Some lyrics: "In our difference is blessing, from diversity we praise One Giver, One Lord, One Spirit, One Word, known in many ways, hallowing our days. For the giver, for the gifts, praise, praise, praise!"
  • Speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues. I can't help but feel that most modern-day incarnations of speaking in tongues miss the mark somewhat. After all, the beauty of the speaking in tongues recorded in Acts 2 (see above) was that everyone could understand the good news in their own language, not that no one could understand anything at all...
John 7:37-39
  • This little passage is short and sweet. Jesus calls to him all who are thirsty, and speaks of living water, as he does elsewhere of course. I'm reminded of the passage from Isaiah 55 that begins, "Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters."
  • John indicates that Jesus is here speaking of the Spirit which they were yet to receive. That is certainly not how I would read the passage without John's input. What do you think?
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