Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
Pastor Heidi R. Chamberlain
Information info@potsdamumc.org

Mind Blowing

May 27th:

Mind Blowing
Call:   Ezekiel 37: 1-14
Text:   Acts 2: 1-21
Read:   We Are the Church (558)

                                Mind Blowing

Triple A:       Awesome, Amazing, and Astonishing
Triple F:       Frightening, fearsome, and formidable
Triple I:       Inspiring, Incredible and Impacting
Triple M:       Magical, Mystical, and Moving
Triple P:       Powerful, provocative, and persuasive
Triple T:       Terrifying, Troublesome, and Touching

All those words and concepts come to mind
when we hear Ezekiel describe
the image of the Valley of the Dry Bones

I can hear God ask the question:
        "Mortal,        can these bones live?"
And I shake in my boots when I hear God call out, "Mortal."
        Even before I hear the question itself.
        Well before I see the bones come together

For when God calls me "Mortal"
        It separates God from me
        And I feel truly subservient, significantly inferior, and really tiny.

Maybe that separation would enable me to respond like Ezekiel with,
        "O Lord God, you know."
But more likely, I would just babble incoherently.

And my shaking and sense of being minute would continue
        When I prophesied as God demanded       (not requested!)
        As I heard a noise, a rattling
        As the bones came together
                With sinews and flesh on them
                And skin covering them

And even more trembling would be obvious
        When - again in response to God's demand - I prophesied
        Saw breath enter those lifeless flesh covered bones
        And saw that they       were alive.

And I would drop down to the ground in humility and gratitude
        When God tells me that the bones are his people
                Dried up and without hope
                And cut off completely from God
        But that God will put God's spirit within us
                And we shall live
                And we shall know that God has spoken and will act.

Doesn't this get you!
It gets me!
        Triple A        Triple F, I, T, M, P

In that scripture God is talking about
        Giving new life to God's people
        Putting God's broken and lifeless people back together
                As something complete
As a living, breathing entity.

And that image helps us understand what God was doing on Pentecost.

The story of Pentecost is the story of
        the coming of the Holy Spirit
        And the birth of the church

We know this story
Because others saw it and told about it
We know this story
Because succeeding generations listened and then told the story as well.

Is there a chance that you and I, however,
 have grown so comfortable with it
That we respond in a blasé, ho hum, almost immune manner
        Like a child who has too many Christmas gifts
Instead of responding with the same heartfelt triple letters
As we do to Ezekiel's description of the Valley of the Dry Bones

Is there a chance that the story stops with us
        Because we don't care enough to tell it to others?

Is there a chance?      Let's find out: Acts 2: 1-21

[pause]         Well?

Blasé?  Ho Hum?         Almost Immune?
Not worth telling
        At least in comparison to the other activities
        To which we give priority?

Or did we respond with the triple letters of emotion?
        And fell compelled to share the story with others
                Even if we have to cut down on those other activities?

The crowd which gathered outside the disciples' room reacted this way.
        [Acts 2: 37-42]

My friends,
the story of Pentecost
the story of the birth of the church
is not just in the story of what God did and was offering to do

The story is in the reaction of Peter and those gathered around him

Peter stood up amid all that confusion
        And by daring
to trust the promise of Jesus Christ
and to fulfill the commission of Jesus Christ by being a witness
exposed himself to ridicule and failure.

The people who observed what was happening
        Dared to trust Christ as set forth by Peter
        And so repented and were baptized
                Creating the church as an instrument
for witnessing by word, by deed, and by love.

They too exposed themselves to ridicule and failure
        Even separation from friends and associates.

The story of Pentecost is also in
        The story of how we react

Are we willing to expose ourselves
        To what Shakespeare called
"the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune"
        To ridicule, apparent failure, and expulsion or separation?

Today in this worship service
we not only hear the stories of God
trying to give life to God's people
by putting them back into a correct relationship with God and
with each other
we also see and honor people
who have been witnesses
through this congregation
for more than a half century

Today in this worship service
        We not only hear of people who were baptized at the birth of the church
        But we are a part of a baptism of a six year old
                To whom  we can be the witnesses we have been commissioned to be.

We can take that commission and the empowerment of Pentecost seriously
        Or we can give priority to human desires
        And choose them over worship, giving, serving and loving.

To witness or not to witness that is the question
The question of both the ascension and Pentecost
The fact that the correct answer is so obvious
        But so often not chosen
- even by those who purport to follow Christ
Is even more mind blowing than
        Ezekiel's description of the Valley of the Dry Bones
        Or Luke's telling of the day the Holy Spirit came to empower us.

The story continues to be written
        What will be the story of our reaction?