Today's readings share one common thrust. Each in its own context sheds hope over the horizon of history. To a community under hardship and facing bleak prospects Haggai promises a new tomorrow of God's making. 2 Thessalonians is addressed to a congregation experiencing internal confusion and stress triggered by intruders promoting an escapist version of the gospel, probably some form of gnosticism. Call it Gospel Lite. The writer reminds his readers in his own way that cross and crown are inseparable; there are struggles to come but love's far-reaching victory is certain.
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Acts 2:1-21 is the obvious choice for your Pentecost lectionary text and perhaps you have used it on many occasions. However, the lectionary includes several options and I explore them in this Charting the Course to try to show there is more than one way to experience God’s Spirit.
Bonnie Bates Bill Thomas Ron Love Mark Ellingsen Frank Ramirez M Adryael Tong
Acts 2:1-21 Charles Spurgeon once said, “Without the Spirit of God, we can do nothing. We are as ships without the wind, branches without sap, and like coals without fire, we are useless.” The Day of Pentecost is the day we celebrate the birth of the church and the Holy Spirit coming on the apostles and they began to speak in other languages (Acts 2:4).
These verses follow the metaphor of living water flowing from our hearts into the world. The opening activity will work off of that image to show how water works. Water fills in all the empty places it can find. Even when we think there is no room, water can find the emptiness and fill it up.
What you will need:
A transparent jar or bowl
A couple of large rocks (or other large objects that will fit in your container)
In your lesson say something like:
Call to Worship: Jesus promised his friends that great power would be available to them when he had finally disappeared from this earth. That power came on the Day of Pentecost. In our worship today let us explore what sort of power this was and whether it is still available to us.
Invitation to Confession: Jesus, sometimes I have difficulty connecting with things that happened 2,000 years ago. Lord, have mercy. Jesus, sometimes I assume that all your power was in the past, belonging to a by-gone age.
All of you have heard stories of miracles. Some of you have experienced a miracle. The one which tops my list comes from several years ago. A woman I knew had been doctoring for stomach problems. Nothing seemed to be working. Her local doctor sent her to Rochester. The Mayo doctors ran her through a battery of tests and discovered cancer. They did surgery immediately. They took one look and closed her up. There was cancer everywhere. She came home to die. But she didn't get sick and weaker as we expected. We saw her in church every Sunday. Several months later, she was back at Mayo.