Dear friends in Christ,

There’s been a wrapped gift in the sanctuary. I’m sure you have all seen it at some point. I didn’t plan the end of my sermon on Pentecost but trusted the Holy Spirit to finish. Here are excerpts of that sermon:

In the readings for Pentecost we hear of wind and of fire. These two words evoke very powerful images. These two words evoke for the disciples powerful memories. Images and memories from the stories they have heard and told time and time again throughout their lives as told in the scriptures The Torah. They knew the Old Testament like the back of their hands. When Jesus promised that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit, they would remember the stories of God’s Spirit in their scriptures –– in their history.

Fire: What stories do we remember that deal with fire…
• The burning bush
• Pillar of fire by night to give light
• Fiery furnace
• I think of the story of the road to Emmaus… when the two men said.. “And were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us.”
• In today’s world we see the image of fire…we see its destructive power…the fires that ravage a forest or building.

I think of the one who tends the fire. Or the one who carried the fire… before the matches… the one who carried the embers as the group traveled from one place to another. An ember that stands alone will soon go out… but when embers are gathered together… they build off one another and flames begin.

How would you use the image of fire to describe your faith? I think there are times I am an ember… burning quiet even struggling to stay lit. At times I am that slow steady burning log… like the duraflame logs. Sometimes I am the fire starter…a match…my purpose is to get things started. And perhaps times when my fire is out of control… but I hope in a good way… where my heart burns as Christ opens the scriptures and sends me on my mission.

As you examine your life… your fire… If your fire is blazing…then spread the good news with others. Share the gift.

However, if you feel that your fire is barely burning – if the ruach-the Spirit has gone out of you… Come to the well and be renewed. Feast on His word. Soak yourself in prayer and praise. Open the gift that is waiting for you.

Come, Holy Spirit, and renew in us the fire of your love.
Fill us with holy expectancy as we gather in the name of Jesus.

Give us a passion for the Gospel, a heart for the lost, a willingness to do whatever it takes, and a commitment to one another.Stir up Your power within us, encourage us, empower us as disciples who make disciples for Jesus’ sake.   Amen.

Well, I went over and sat down. I asked if someone would please let the Spirit out of the box. And sure enough the Spirit moved in Josh to come up to the altar and open the gift. We watched in suspense as he worked on unwrapping the box. Finally he opened it and pulled out the red paper… and looked quite shocked at its contents. Or should I say lack of contents. I explained the box was empty because the Holy Spirit was given to us through our baptism. All we had to do is open our hearts.

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