Dear Friends and Family of Grace Church,
This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday! And it’s a BIG DEAL! It’s the Birthday of the Church! It’s the day we celebrate the Holy Spirit’s coming to us. It’s Jesus’ promise that he gave to us before his Ascension. On that day long ago, the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ followers in a gusty wind and in flaming fire. In that moment God transformed those followers into Apostles and Prophets of Christ. They were changed, transformed, into the people God had designed them to be, and they were empowered to do God’s saving work in the world in Jesus’ name. God has designs on you and me for that same thing. And Pentecost Sunday is the day we open ourselves yet again to God’s design for us. So, consider Jesus’ words in this Scripture from Luke, and let yourself get fired up!
Luke 12:49: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled.”
Charles J. Connick, who became famous for his craftsmanship in stained glass windows, once had a young apprentice who wanted to borrow his tools. The master artist asked him: “What do you want my tools for, son?”
“Oh, I just want to see whether they will make any difference in my work – I’m not satisfied with it,” was the reply.
Almost a week later, Connick visited the young apprentice and asked him: “Well, son, how is it going now?”
“Not so good, sir, not so good,” was the reply. An old grey-haired artist who overheard the conversation came forward and said to the young man: “Son, it isn’t only the tools of the master that you need; you need his spirit…..his fire.”
We need that fire of our Master too. Fire is an essential element in our world. Without the sun – a ball of nuclear fire – we would have no heat, no light, indeed, we would not exist, because fire is necessary not only for the continuance of life, but for its very creation.
For most people fire has its pleasurable attributes. The joy of the open grate with its play of light and color is without equal as a releaser of fantasy. Indeed, the fireside is a marvelous place for reverie, for companionship, and for intimate conversation. And fire has other benefits besides giving pleasure and heat. It cooks our food, it cauterizes, sterilizes surgical instruments, eliminates impurities in metal, makes metal pliable and much, much more.
But, for you and me, fire also burns at the heart of our faith in Christ. In our Christian faith fire is an agent not only of cleansing but of sacrifice, power, and re-creation. When fire first fell on Christians at Pentecost the Church was born. In Pentecost, we the Church, are empowered by God to live in this world as the living embodied presence of Jesus; to be aflame with the Holy Spirit. This is the reason we celebrate Pentecost. And, receiving The Fire of the Holy Spirit, becoming aflame in our lives, is the hope of Pentecost.
So remember: Pentecost comes this Sunday, June 5th. Red is the color of fire, and red is the color of the day. SO, WEAR RED! Come and get “Fired Up” from the inside out. And let us pray – each of us – that we might be set afire for Christ.