Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pentecost and Mother's Day... Hmmmm

As we continue to grow the use of this online lectionary Blog I am sure that each of our unique perspectives will become visable to one another. I hesitate to require a formal format that all must use but hope with the Holy Spirit we will all understand each other.

On a week in which most may punt and run away from the lectionary in favor of a mothers day theme let me suggest the following for the beginning of our conversation on Acts 2:1-21... The Story of Pentecost!

I gravitated to verse 14 and particularly the phrase: "But peter, standing with the eleven raised his voice and addressed them: 'Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say."

Peter, in a moment of confusion and fear stands up and leads, teaches, interprets and guides his people through an event that in truth could have gone either way. It could have turned into a riot or into a witch trail. God breaking into our lives is sometimes a very scary time even when it is a good thing. I must say that I have in the past tended to focus in on the spirit and tongue thing and the obvious overtones toward unity and diversity as a Disciple.

However, this time, though I did not set out to link mothers day and Pentecost, it seems if I were going to do this what I would do is talk about my mother and how she and others have been the one who stood up and raised her voice and guided me through those potentially confusing moments of life.

I have writen a story about everyone else in the family but my mother. Im not sure why I have been unable to catch my mothers presence in my life in a paragraph of letters and words. Everytime I sit down to write something about her I seem to fall short with just the right emphasis that tells my soul that "Yes, this is my mother."

Yet, she has always been there! Other then a moment when my mother stood up and dump an entire huge bowl of peas on my head to emphasize the point that I was being annoying and selfish to all around, I dont remember my mother as the person who would have been like Peter standing up and saying LISTEN to me for I know what this means!

What I remember about my mother and what I would share this Sunday is a mother who has struggled with the loss of 3 of her six children. A mother who allowed me to make butter and sugar sandwiches even though it was not her particular favorite food. A mother who for her own reasons believed in a God who has a plan for all people including hers and mine. An idea of God that she focused on but never talked to me about during the rough times of her life. A mother who still claimed me, when I, her son, came home from seminary, now a well trained theologian and had writen a paper that articulated an understanding of God as one who is neither in full control or has an overall plan for our lives [because if God did have a plan or that much control than things that happened to my mother would not have happen ever.] I was passionate and proud and like any good son I let her read my paper; I needed her to read my paper on "How I see God in this world." She took an hour to read it and then said, "I am proud of you, your paper is very Good and I understand how you see God." However, then she said, "As for me, I still see God as one who, has a plan and purpose for our lives." We smiled and at butter and sugar sandwiches together... Ok maybe not that last part but we did spend the rest of the day sitting in lawn chairs talking about all the other things that we never knew that we did not know about each other...

We did not speak the same langauge or have the same understanding of how God is working in our world... So my mother is no Peter in the sense of telling me to LISTEN to what he has to say! But she has often stood up next to me and said I am listening to what you have to say about God and that has encouraged me to be willing to listen to her and others as well who may speak of God differently.

Thank God for Pentecost, for mothers who stand up and listen and congregations willing to worship together particularly when we DO hear each others understandings of God clearly for the first time...

Those are my thoughts on pentecost and mother's day... what do you all think.. continue the conversation by clicking on the comment button below....


oleander74 said...

I'm thinking about the "waiting, praying, and listening" aspect of Pentecost--and the fact that all of God's people can be prophets. The Revised Common Lectionary has Numbers 11:24-30 as an alternate reading, where Eldad and Medad have the audacity to prophesy in the camp. Joshua wants Moses to stop them, but Moses says, "Are you kidding? Just when the burden of power is getting too much, you want me to hoard it, and slap anyone else who gets some? No, I’d like it if everyone had that power. (my paraphrase) That's the abundant life—when it is possible for every one of God’s people to be a prophet. Waiting, praying, and listening.

Dan Mayes said...

Good thoughts, BSD. I,also, haven't focused much on those aspects of Pentecost, and have gravitated towards the obvious.

I like the idea of focusing on Peter's resolve and ability to bring resolution to the situation. We should not forget that it came about through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

I was talking with a parishioner this week about her brother who tragically died of a motorcycle crash at a young age. Two weeks prior she felt the urging of the spirit to talk to him about his relationship with God. Unfortunately, she declined, missed the opportunity, and has regretted it ever since.

Unfortunately, I think, we have plentiful examples of when we were disobedient to the prompting of the Spirit and have lived to regret it. Peter, in this pericope, is an example of obedience to the prompting of the Spirit, and the good results it can produce.

The question for us to consider is...Do we really believe that obedience to the Spirit will produce good fruit? Do our actions correspond?

Dan Mayes said...

Another idea for today...John 20:19-23 is the Gospel lesson. In this case, the HS is granted in tongues. Instead Jesus is with a throng of his followers after the resurrection and he breathes the Spirit upon them. The word here used for breath is the same word the LXX used in Genesis for when God breathed life into the humans.

The Spirit, here, is perhaps that part of God which re-stores us, re-creates us, makes us into that which we were originally intended to be.

If the Spirit of God is trying to restore us to the way God intended us to be, originally, then prompt and constant attention to it is required on our part.

Just another direction.

fester said...

I realize that in some ways i am late commenting on this week but look forward to comenting in the future. Thank you Bill for setting this group up, I for one do feel isolated and have a real desire to discuss theologically the scripture with others.

On that note i wish i had preached this week or known where our senior was going, becuase i think most churches missed a great opportunity to connect God and the feminine this last week. The holy spirit is by language and tradition referred to in the female. Being mothers day we could have in probibly the safest way introduced the female aspects of God. being in a church that has never heard of the term inclusive langage, who still wants my wife who is soon to be ordained herself to fulfil the traditional pastors wife rolse, who has never thought outside of God as father, we missed our chance to introduce them to mother spirit.