Fire Shut up in my Bones-She, the Holy Spirit

(Before the beginning of the sermon, ask the confirmation students to come forward, handing them a candle, red representing the Holy Spirit, asking them about where they can see the Holy Spirit burning in their lives. After hearing their answers, or even their musings, turn to the congregation)

And you too,

Beloved

What new possibilities

Do we see

That are at work

As we immerse ourselves

In the Holy Spirit?

(pause)

Then again,

As people of faith,

Do we even have a choice

When it comes to

She,

The Holy Spirit

Because it seems

She,

The Holy Spirit is continuing the work

Of dismantling the norm

And disrupting the silence of emptiness and of

(pause)

She

The Holy Spirit,

Refuses

To cease,

Cease being that presence

That we so desperately need

In order that we might learn,

To love.

(pause)

She

Grabs our attention

Agitating our very being

Because,

We are forever discerning

What it is that

Christ wants us to do

What direction that He is calling us to follow

There is no reason to be fearful, right?

We have been marked with the sign of the Cross!

We should then,

Just jump into the Holy Spirit fueled waters

And do

Ministry

(pause)

Ministry,

Is as fluctuating

And freeing

Like waters of Baptism

From where I stand,

That’s how I have just rolled with the Holy Spirit

But I must admit

It is a struggle,

Because Jesus calls,

Jesus commandments

Tests,

And humbles us into relationships:

Love one another

Invite in the weary

Build that bond of the beloved community

Testify to one another

This is what it means

To travel along our

Spiritual journey

(pause)

Very quickly,

And especially during my Seminarian journey

How I relate to She,

The Holy Spirit

Is that She,

Has the tendency

To intrude deep in my life

Jostling me out of my apathy

Into action

What is your experience with Her?

Sometimes

The Holy Spirit is regulated

And limited

To that third place,

To a sub status

And therefore

Ministry,

Left up to our own devices

Has the unfortunate capability

to crumble in our human, frail hands

(pause)

Without Her,

Caring for the marginalized

The impoverished

The forgotten

That work,

Would be left undone

(pause)

Without Her,

Our voices

To cry out for the hurting

To demand peace and mercy for the fallen

To plead for grace and love for the offender

Would be non-existent

(pause)

What is your experience

When the Holy Spirit

Moved you?

I am sure over coffee

Over the breaking of bread

In moments of shared prayer with those

That we rely on

As our sisters and brothers in Christ

There have been testimonies shared-

When the Holy Spirit shakes us,

As people of Faith

Sets the fire which is shut up in our bones

Until we were restless!

And allowed that fire

To erupt forward,

Catapulting us,

From that timid, comfortable place on the cliff

Into unending, vast waters of Baptism

(pause)

The divine light,

Of the Holy Spirit

MUST SHINE THROUGH

US, beloved!

Where else can this broken world experience,

Grace

Mercy

Peace

Love

Than through our unbridled joy

Which we are moved

Because of the Holy Spirit?

(pause)

And this is why I invited our confirmands

Into conversation

Because, dear people

In order for this world to heal,

Whole

To eradicate the injustice

In our lives

We cannot just point to beautiful symbols

In stain glass windows,

Or etched in hanging paintings

And say,

“Look!

There is the Holy Spirit!”

We must embrace,

She

The Holy Spirit

In all her fiery wonder,

Allowing that flame

To set our dry bones,

Into life!

What is our collective experience,

When the Holy Spirit has moved us,

Beloved?

“When the day of Pentecost had come,

they were all together in one place.”

Who were “they”

That were gathered into that space?

What was their experience

When the Holy Spirit

So rudely invaded

That space?

Were they already dutifully religious?

Were they the women,

Who had been traveling

With Jesus?

Were they the many countless, faceless faithful

Who followed after Jesus,

When He had healed their wounds

Raised their sons from the death

Given them sight

Or perhaps,

They,

Were just like us,

Searching for the presence

Of something

That would make us whole.

Some sign

That we

Are loved?

(pause)

Have you ever stood outside,

As the skies transform

When a violent thunderstorm is birthed

Forcing Creation to bend

And the sounds that engulf you,

Are the violent winds

Until your soul can do nothing else

But weep,

Not in fear

But because this had to be

What they,

Gathered in the house

Gathered in the streets

Experienced

Of She,

The Holy Spirit?

(pause)

Have you ever stood at the base of a bonfire,

Watching the feverish beating of flames

Immerse everything,

Even feeling

Those flames,

Reaching forward to you,

As if to ignite something?

(pause)

Have you ever

Been in a room

Of Buddhist chanting

Or African drumming’

I’ve crumbled into a sodden heap of acknowledgement

Hearing the sacred drums

Of Indigenous peoples

Welcoming in the Nations

At the opening entry

Of PowWows

Because something in my spirit was shaken,

Because there I felt the Creator speaking

(pause)

Have you ever,

Experienced silence-

The silence when

The life of that one you love

No longer breathes

No longer speaks

But somehow,

You know,

The peace that remains

Is because

God is there

And the Holy Spirit hovers

To cradle us?

(pause)

This must have been powerful

To experience the entry,

The Birth

Of the Holy Spirit

In that place

All at once

WIND, FIRE, NOISE, SILENCE.

(pause)

Rev. Traci Blackmon,

A phenomenal pastor in the UCC

A phenomenal voice for justice throughout our nation

Shared her thoughts on the Pentecost

She wrote

That the experience that those fellow sisters and brothers

Of faith,

In that room

Didn’t end just there

“The difference then was that they waited on the Holy Ghost

…and when it came…

they didn’t just shout.

“The Bible says

…they left the room,

having received the Power…

and joined those in the streets…

sharing a message they could believe

and understand.”

This is the hope,

And the possibility

And the Good News,

That we crave in our lives-

That because Christ loved us

Because the Creator treasures us

And in order to remind us,

That we are not alone,

We are given this gift

Of She,

The Holy Spirit.

(pause)

Thanks Be to God