Tag Archives: Pentecost

Pentecost (2016)

Pentecost

May 15, 2016 AD

Old Testament: Genesis 11:1-9

Epistle: Acts 2:1-21

Gospel: John 14:23-31

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Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father, and from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The text for my sermon this Pentecost is from the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians, the third verse:

“I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says, ‘Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

On this fiftieth day following our Lord’s resurrection from the dead, we Christians throughout the world celebrate with great joy the coming of God the Holy Spirit who works in our hearts the miracle of faith.

On Good Friday the work of our salvation was accomplished, and that is clear from Jesus’ cry of victory from the cross: “It is finished!” What was finished? The victory of love. For when all His enemies, visible and invisible, attacked Jesus, love remained love: “Father, forgive,” Jesus prays and goes on loving to the end. And because He did, all our lack of love— for God and for others— our sin is atoned for and so the sins of the world are forgiven.

On Good Friday that wonderful victory was accomplished. On Easter Day the victory was revealed in the Jesus’ glorious resurrection from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection is God the Father’s declaration that the sins of the world are forgiven and death itself is dead. And now on this fiftieth day after Easter, this Day of Pentecost— Pentecost means fiftieth— Christ’s victory was openly proclaimed. On Good Friday the victory was accomplished, on Easter the victory was revealed, now on Pentecost the victory was proclaimed, and no less than three thousand souls were brought to faith through Peter’s and the other disciples’ proclamation of our Jesus’ saving death and resurrection. And so it will continue until the end of time, when the risen and ascended Lord at last appears in glory and brings to completion that work of redeeming love begun in the manger, fulfilled on the cross, revealed at the open tomb. You and I are Christians today, believers, because the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and continues to come through the preaching of Jesus, through the holy Sacraments, always pointing to Jesus, Our Savior.

In his First Letter to the Church at Corinth, Saint Paul writes: “I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says, ‘Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord!’ except by the Holy Spirit.” To say “Jesus is Lord” is to confess that I myself am not Lord: I am not my own Maker and most certainly not my own Savior, but rather an utterly dependent creature, and therefore not myself the judge of good and evil, truth and error, right and wrong; I am but a mortal sinner. But that is not the whole story, and if it were, how sad a story it would be. But when I say, “Jesus is Lord,” I am saying that the Father who created me out of love sent His Son to redeem me out of love and so has become my Lord through love. No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit, and that is the miracle of faith.

How beautifully Dr. Luther expresses that in his explanation to the Third Article of Creed:

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him, but the Holy Ghost has called me through the Gospel…

…the Gospel which is the good news of Jesus. The Holy Spirit points not to Himself but always to Jesus, just as Jesus said in the upper room on the night before He died for us: “When the Comforter comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth…He will bear witness to me…”

“I believe that I cannot…believe…but the Holy Spirit has called me.” And this is the miracle of faith. It was John Wesley who once said: “The change accomplished by the Holy Spirit in the heart is no less than all outward miracles as showing the same power which gave sight to the blind, feet to the lame, and life to the dead.” That is the miracle of faith! And our whole faith as Christians is miracle from beginning to end. It is all miracle— the miracle of our Savior’s birth from one both virgin and mother, the miracle of His atoning death, the miracle of His resurrection and ascension, and the still-awaited miracle of His coming again in glory. It is all miracle, the miracle of God, and the greatest of all miracles is this: that I a poor sinner can say, “Jesus loved me and gave himself for me.”

And so if you are able to say “Jesus is Lord,” this is the work of the Holy Spirit in you, the miracle of faith, wrought by the Holy Spirit in every penitent heart.

And that is why beginning on the first Pentecost and continuing to the end of the world, the Church which was born on this day, has continued to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins to the whole world. Saint Peter did that very thing on the first Pentecost when he convicted of sin that whole crowd gathered in Jerusalem, so that hearing his word, they could only cry out, “Brothers what shall we do?” And what was Peter’s answer? “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” In your baptism you received the gift of the Spirit who continues to create and sustain faith in your heart by the simple word of preaching, through the word of Pardon, and through the gift of the Savior’s mysteriously yet truly present body and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar.

And so it will continue until the end which is not end but the beginning of new and eternal life. The Holy Spirit who came this day as wind and flame continues to work the miracle of faith in the hearts of sinners like you and me so that like the first disciples and the 3000 converted on this day, we may with eyes of faith see our glorious risen Lord, hear His word of perfect peace, and be glad. And to Him be glory and honor now and forever. Amen.

And the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. +Amen.

Our Saviour Parish News, May 2016

AscensionThou hast raised our human nature
On the clouds to God’s right hand;
There we sit in heavenly places,
There with Thee in glory stand.
Jesus reigns, adored by angels;
Man with God is on the throne.
Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension
We by faith behold our own.

 
– Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885) The Lutheran Hymnal 218, stanza 5


Ascension Day Divine Service, 7:30 PM


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The celebration of the festivals of the Church Year is no arduous duty but rather a blessing and privilege for us Christians who in celebrating these festivals continually trace the loving purpose of God for our salvation. Thursday, May 5th, is Ascension Day. In Christopher Wordsworth’s great hymn for this festival we see with wonderful clarity the meaning of Jesus’ ascension: “Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension we by faith behold our own.” And in times as uncertain as these, it is a great comfort to know that, having ascended into heaven, Christ— not only as true God but also as our still human Brother who knows all our weakness— rules all things for the good of His believing children.

Just ten days later we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost which, together with Christmas and Easter, is one of the three great festivals of the Christian Year. On the first Pentecost the risen Lord sent down the Holy Spirit as He had promised upon the disciples in Jerusalem. God the Holy Spirit continues to come and, through the Gospel and Sacraments, creates saving faith in the hearts of human beings; then and now He brings Christ to us and us to Christ. As Dr. Luther says in his Large Catechism:

We could never recognize [God] the Father’s favor and grace were it not for the Lord Christ, who is a mirror of the Father’s heart. Apart from Him we see nothing but an angry and terrible Judge. But neither could we know anything of Christ, had it not been revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Alleluia! The Spirit of the Lord filleth the world: O come, let us worship Him!

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Christian education does not end with Confirmation but continues throughout our lives as Christians. Every Sunday morning at 9:45 AM we study the appointed readings from Holy Scripture for that day in the Church Year. The number of people attending this class has lately increased. Do come and join us! The format is quite informal, questions and discussion are very much encouraged!

Every Sunday we remember at the altar those whose names are listed in the bulletin. Do take that list home with you and pray for those whose names are listed. I should mention that Queenie Hardaway recently moved to the Augsburg Home. Remember her especially in your prayers as she begins this new chapter in her life.

The Saint Mark’s Conference on April 25-26 was a delightful occasion. The focus of the Conference was the confessional, sacramental, and liturgical life of our dear Lutheran Church, the Church of the Augsburg Confession. I must thank all the members of Our Saviour who helped to make this possible: James Gray for preparing the sacramental vessels and clothing the altar in the correct color of the day; Don Weber for serving as organist on Saint Mark’s Day; Helen Gray, Kathy Gray, Esther Shelton, and Bernie Knox who prepared Monday’s lunch; Paul and Mary Techau who took charge of the social hour following Monday Vespers and helped in other ways; William Hawkins and Ron Lang who were present on both days and always eager to be of help. Visitors were impressed with the reverent service of our faithful acolytes Jamera Breshay-Hawkins and Kai Hawkins. Vicar Trent is ever helpful. I must also thank the women of the Saint Monica Guild of Redeemer Church, Irvington, who prepared and served Tuesday’s lunch. I hope I have not forgotten to thank someone, but if I have, I beg your pardon! Audio from the St. Mark’s Conference is available here.

We have now had the joy of celebrating Easter Day and the bright Easter season. Now we look forward to celebrating the Ascension of our Lord (Thursday, May 5th) and the great Feast of Pentecost.

God is eager to bestow His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation in every Divine Service. Are we similarly eager to receive those gifts and thank and praise Him for His astonishing love?

Affectionately in our Lord and with my prayers,

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Pastor McClean


Things to come…

Free Flea Market – Saturday, May 14th

The first Free Flea Market of the year will be held on Saturday, May 14th, in the rear parking lot of the church. Donations and helpers are needed. Clothing, especially children’s and women’s, household items, games, toys are needed. Also needed are Volunteers to help set up and man the tables that morning. Be here by 8:30 AM. It runs from 9 AM until noon. Each visitor receives five tickets which they can redeem for any item This is our outreach to the community to share the gifis that God has so freely given us. Flyers will be distributed to the neighborhood and a table will be marmed at the iConnections gathering of GEDCO at the site of the old Stadium on May 7th. Join us for a fun day and share your faith with others.

– Judy Volkman

Voters Meeting – following Divine Service on Pentecost, Sunday May, 15th

Spring Clean-Up Day – Saturday, May 21st, 9:00 AM until noon.

Call Anthony Baylor (4l0.486.5199) for more information.