The Day of Pentecost
Readings — Acts 2: 1-21; Psalm 104: 25-35, 37; Romans 8: 22-27; John 15: 26-27; 16: 4b- 15
Piggy Banks. How many of you had piggy banks as children? I had one, actually many, but only one at a time, from Glenside Savings and Loan Bank. The bank gave out plastic piggy banks with their accounts. And into my plastic piggy bank went pennies, nickels, dimes, and an occasional silver dollar. In my family, we got a weekly allowance for doing chores around the house. It also was not unusual for a visiting aunt, uncle, or grandparent to slip me a coin or two as they were leaving. I guess people don’t do that anymore, but it was quite common in our family. Nickels, dimes, and quarters could buy a lot in those days, like a pack of baseball cards or a soda at the corner store. Sometimes I was allowed to place a money gift in the corner of the upper drawer of my dresser for my own desire, but mostly the coins were to be placed in the plastic piggy bank with the name of the Glenside Savings and Loan Bank on its side. When the plastic piggy bank got full, we took it to the bank where they took out a special hammer, cracked it open, spilled the coins on the desk, counted them, and then wrote a deposit in my bank deposit book. Then you got to select a new plastic piggy bank from a variety of colors. Now I know that some piggy banks have a twist opening on the bottom for the coins to be spilled out, but those of the Glenside Savings and Loan did not. Once the coins were inside the only way to get them out was to crack the piggy bank. I know because I tried to shake them out with no success. (I think my parents liked it that way.)
Now, a lot of coins went into a lot of plastic piggy banks that were cracked open with the money put into my account. A lot of my family contributed. And they were all told that those coins were for my college education. A lot of my family invested in my future, so they were told. And they were.
Jesus spent three years investing in the twelve named disciples, and many more unnamed disciples. He taught them (we know some of his teachings from Holy Scripture); he talked with them during the meals they shared; he healed the sick with them looking on; he reached out and served the poor with them around; he lived the Holy Life among them; he poured himself out for them and for others day after day after day. He invested in them for three years. And then he invested in them for forty more days following the Resurrection up until the Ascension. Following the Ascension, all was quiet for ten days, and then Jerusalem was packed once more, just like at the Passover. Fifty days following the Passover the Jews celebrated the Festival of Weeks which was the celebration of the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai. It was also the celebration of the first harvest of the season, the barley harvest. Every male Jew within twenty miles of Jerusalem was expected to join in the celebration, and they came by the thousands. In these crowds the disciples of Jesus again gathered, perhaps celebrating in the same Upper Room as their last supper with Jesus. As our reading from Acts tells us, the Holy Spirit came mightily upon them. No longer hiding out of fear, they broke out and proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. They proclaimed that the long-awaited day of the Lord had arrived as foreseen by the prophet Joel almost 400 years before. The Spirit of God descended upon the disciples, and they began to proclaim the Good News that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, indeed, the Son of God. In fact, the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai was just the prelude. Jesus was, in the flesh, living the Law.
For three years and forty days, Jesus had been investing in these disciples, and now they were ready to proclaim and go into the world in mission. Their souls were filled to the breaking point, and now they were cracked open; they exploded to share all that Jesus had invested in them. And Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, was not done investing in them, he continued to grace them.
You know that putting investing coins in a plastic piggy bank is a bit like the action each Sunday when a priest puts the Body of Christ, the Bread of Heaven, into your hands. God is investing in you Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. God is investing in your soul that has already been broken open by the Holy Spirit. The powerful sacrament is placed in your hands, and then you are invited and empowered to go and do a mission, to go and live a life of service to others. God has invested in you, and you have been shaped for your mission. You are blessed by God so that you can be a blessing in service to others. You are nourished by God so that you can live the Jesus Way of Life so that you can live in the flesh the Law handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai.
To know the right way, the Way of the Kingdom is not enough. The Spirit came down so that you would live the Way of the Kingdom as Jesus People.
Take, eat, this is my Body given for you so that you will go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit to serve in all the world.