Mother Vivian Shelby – Pentecost Day, May 28, 2023
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
So today we find the disciples locked in a room afraid. Now Mary has already told them that she saw Jesus risen. But they’re still afraid. Jesus appears in the locked room and says, “Peace be with you.” And they still don’t quite get it. So then he shows them his hands and his side and they immediately recognize him as their Lord. And they rejoice. Finally.
He gives them peace again. And gives them instructions that he is sending them, just as the Father had sent him. And that they actually will be able to show people that God forgives their sins if they repent. And some people do. And those that don’t, those sins are retained. So, incredible power.
Jesus, breathes on them. Which reminds me of God in Genesis breathing life into all the creatures, and into Adam. He’s creating new life in these disciples and giving them a very important task. Prior to Jesus’ arrival, they were afraid, they were confused, they were suffering with grief at the death of their Lord. And then joy.
Now, the Holy Spirit was not just about several thousand years ago. Like a kick start for the disciples. No. The Holy Spirit is meant for every person and every generation that follows for thousands of years up until today to you and to me. This gift has lasted that long and will continue to last.
Imagine though. What if the disciples in that room had not believed that that man was the risen Lord? If they chose to stay attached to their fear and their confusion and their suffering and did not leave that room. And did not take that message out to the world. Christianity itself would have died in that room.
So, from Jesus’s immediate followers they have created what became this worldwide church that we are a part of. That’s amazing. I don’t believe that there’s anything else in the church or in this world that has lasted that long. An ancient story, tradition, Scripture that has come this far into the future and is with us today.
Now, with that comes responsibility. We are disciples of Christ. And the spirit that is giving truth to us today is asking us to do the same thing. We are responsible for generations to come of preaching the gospel and explaining that there’s this peace. That peace that Jesus gave them that calmed them. That peace of understanding which only faith in Jesus Christ creates. And it’s our job to tell people about it. Invite people. And part of that invitation, we are fulfilling today. In two baptisms of these beautiful young people. They will be sealed as Christ’s own forever and baptized with water. And protected and given the Holy Spirit and brought up to pass on this endless story. This endless gift of eternal life that we have in Jesus Christ.
Now, there is probably not one of us here this morning that even before church, maybe experienced fear, confusion, suffering, whether it’s your own, or the world’s. But the promise today is: you can hold all of that, the confusion, the fear, and the joy of Jesus Christ at the same time. That’s what the Holy Spirit gives us. Human beings that don’t have the Holy Spirit are just left with that, struggling to love and to feel whole. So let the Holy Spirit, especially this day, rest in your heart. So that you can be the Jesus that someone needs this afternoon, tomorrow or the next day. God has a purpose for you. Please for the sake of the church, and people receiving everlasting life. Do what God asks you to do. Through the Holy Spirit. Amen.