Sermon: Life-Giving Wind

PentecostSermon Text

Acts 2:1-22

Sermon Excerpt

Journey with me into the story. . .  Step back and ask yourself, “If I had all the power in the world and wanted to enable a huge crowd of people from different parts of the world to speak to one another, wouldn’t I just give them a common language?”  And, if I foreknew that the occasion was to go down in history as the birth of a religion, wouldn’t I choose a brand new language with a catchy name that would make the jobs of marketing and public relations easier?

While such an idea makes sense to me pragmatically, it frightens me theologically.  A shared language from day one would mean our faith is about uniformity.  It would mean we are all to be alike – something like mass produced Christians.  This “cookie cutter Christianity” isn’t attractive to me at all; it is a poor substitute for authentic Christianity.

Instead of uniformity, our shared story begins with unity.  People came together and their lives changed forever, yet they didn’t lose their language or cultural distinctions.  Miraculously each person gained something instead – the ability to hear everyone else speaking in his or her own language.

Today, I am encouraged by a trend in the American church toward increased collaboration.

For most of our lifetimes, Protestants have paid little attention to the Pope.  Pope Francis, however, has become a refreshing agent of change within his own tradition as well as a significant voice for Christian collaboration.  Earlier this month his call for a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria was answered by Christians from many traditions, including our own.

The days of doing ministry and partnering for mission based on church “brands” is dying.  The Life-Giving Wind is bringing together churches from denominations and traditions that historically wanted nothing to do with one another. Together these group are doing much more than they could do separately . . . (read the full manuscript or listen)

So What?

The church is not supposed to be an institution or a highly structured organization; it is a movement and a permanent revolution.  As Spirit-directed disciples, we are called to be responsive to the Life-Giving Wind.

  • Do you feel like your community of faith is directed more by tradition or the Spirit?  Explain.
  • Do you believe your community of faith is more interested in unity or uniformity? Explain.
  • How would you explain what it means to lead a Spirit-directed life?

 

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