May 2018, Christ Mountain Top, Pentecost
the Psalm, Psalm 104, selections
John 15.26-27, 16.1-15
we think of the gift of the Spirit, we often think in terms of miracle, in
manifestations of the Spirit that are exceptional, unusual, not experienced by
everyone. “That’s nice, but I’ve never experienced that myself.” The folks in
the Covenant Group have practiced paying attention to the presence of the
Spirit in small things. Each time they gather, they told stories of how they
responded to “promptings” of the Spirit in the ordinary things of each day.
Sometimes people say to me, “What made you do that, Pastor JP?” (Not about some
hare-brained idea but about something that is good in a way that can only be described as godly.) My answer, most of the time, is, “I don’t know.” I wasn’t
sensitive to a prompting of the Spirit, but sure enough, God was in it. How, I
can’t say. I can only be grateful.
it would be better for our faith if we had lived in Jesus’ time, if we could
have seen him perform miracles, teach the crowds, lead in prayer. We become
nostalgic for something that we never experienced, except in our imagination,
and we make the mistake of thinking that Jesus’ disciples had great faith.
Check out the gospel stories, where Jesus says to Peter: “You of little faith,
why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14.31). Or, what he tells all his disciples about
the coming Spirit: “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go
away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John
gospel reading for Pentecost this week invites us to consider simpler things of
the Spirit. And it informs us that we are expected “to testify,” that is, we
are expected to tell the story of Jesus (John 15.27). That is the most
spiritual thing we can do: to discern the work of Jesus by the Spirit in our
own lives and to share that story with others.
we have a story to tell?
Road (Acts 9)
grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you” (2
gift of your stories
discount your stories. Don’t apologize for your stories. It is in our stories
that we see God at work, that we see the Spirit of God. “You are to testify,”
Jesus says (John 15.27). Don’t hold back. Not everyone will receive your story,
but your story is a blessing and gift.
roles of the Spirit “when he comes”:
Convict the world of sin, righteousness, judgment
people but the Spirit convicting us.
Lead us into all truth
relationship, not ideas in the abstract
the Son, shared with the Spirit, who leads us into it
a relational truth
don’t know God’s truth without knowing God.
had everything the world has to offer, and so much more from my Lord
declaring it to you”