Readings – Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:25-35,37; I Corinthians 12:3b-13; John 20:19-23

A neighbor of ours has a young dog, Emma, an English setter.  She is always on a leash.  She wants to run, play, to chase, to greet people.  She is always on a leash.  Hold that image.

Pentecost was one of the three Jewish festivals when people were encouraged to travel to Jerusalem.  It was the celebration of the harvest of the first fruits of the season, fifty days after Passover.  It was also the celebration of the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai to Moses.  The law was to distinguish the People of God from all the other peoples of the earth.  The law was to protect them and to put a fence around them, to set up boundaries around them. 

To celebrate Pentecost the disciples of Jesus were gathered again in the Upper Room in Jerusalem.  Some scholars speculate that this was the home of Joseph of Arimathea, the one who provided the stone tomb for Jesus.  When they gathered on this day:

suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a                                            violent wind…Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among                 them…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…

A gathered crowd heard the disciples ‘speaking about God’s deeds of power” in their own native languages, in the languages of the far-flung Roman Empire.  Then, Peter, you know, the one who fifty days before denied even knowing Jesus, that Peter, addressed the crowd.  He shared with them the words of the prophet Joel who described the long-awaited new day for Israel.  It would be a day when God would inspire sons and daughters, young and old, and slaves, too.  And “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord God shall be saved”.  On that day the boundaries were to be breached; diversity was to be embraced; the tethered were to be set free; the leashed were to be set free. 

Love God; love neighbor; love self.  The inspired people of God were to disperse and share the Good News throughout the world. 

It was simple; it is simple.  It was not complicated; it is not complicated.  People of faith were inspired to live in love; the people of God were off the leash.  The people of God are inspired to live in love; the people of God are off the leash. 

With inspiration comes the responsibility to decide, to choose how to live the love.  We are to share God’s love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus.  Yet, we are not alone.  As the Spirit of God was given on that first Pentecost in the Upper Room to a community, it is given to us as a community.  It is in a community that we share our wisdom, that we share our experiences. In a community, we co-mentor each other.  We are companions; we are co-missioners along the way.  Some of us are long-timers; some of us are short-timers; and some of us are just babes in arms.  We are all inspired fellow travelers stretching to learn new ways to be lovers of each other, of our neighbors in our changing world, and of our changing selves. 

We are off the leash, not law-bound, yet with companions on our life-long journey of love. 

One final note.  This year Pentecost is celebrated the same weekend as our Memorial Day celebration.  Let us never forget the many who served and the too many who never made it back home to loved ones, to family and friends, to neighborhoods.  It is because of them that our freedom to love God, to love neighbor, and to love self can be so expansive.  Many gave their all so that we can have the privilege to be all God created us to be and to gather in communities of faith like we are here today.  Their service gives us the opportunities to love God, to love our neighbor, and to love ourselves. 

It is now our turn to advance those same opportunities for the generations that follow. 

We are off leash; the boundaries are breached; we are inspired by the Spirit of Jesus, and we proclaim with the Psalmist –                                                                                            Bless the Lord God, O my soul.  Hallelujah. 


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