Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
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Pastor Rev. Brooke Newell
Secretary Donna McDonald
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Adoption

Listen to the Sermon or the Entire Service

May 19th:

May 19, 2013   (Pentecost)
Call:    Romans 8: 14-17
Text:    Acts 2: 1-21
Read: Golden Member ritual and W&S #40

            Adoption

As I mentioned just a week ago,
Ascension, which we celebrated last week
And   Pentecost which we celebrate today
Are two dramatic and exciting celebrations

Both are stories that are not only interesting
But also stories that every Christian
should make every effort to get to know

and as such, both of these stories are on
"The Jim Barnes Seven Essential NT Stories."

Of all seven, the wildest - and I think by far - is Pentecost.

The others, including Easter, Christmas, and Ascension,
Make our jaws drop and our eyes open wide with amazement
They cause us to be awed.

Pentecost too produces that awe and that amazement.
But, with its rush of violent wind and divided tongues of fire
   It is more dramatic
   It is more confusing
And   It is more frightening than the others.

It is          A high energy almost frenetic scripture
Telling us     about a high energy - certainly frenetic - event
It is a story that gets our adrenaline flowing

Therefore, to make it less likely that that adrenaline rush
will mask the meaning and importance of the story,
I thought it necessary to provide a more dispassionate introduction

So I enlisted the late Jack Webb to write the introductory words
As he would have had Peter say them:

It was Pentecost.
Fifty days after the resurrection.
Ten days after Christ ascended.

At 9:00 that morning.
My partners and I were all in one place
   We got word of a disturbance
   And set out to explain

My name is Peter
I'm a disciple.

I want to share the facts - just the facts.
A physician who called himself Luke.
Gave them to us this way:     Acts 2: 1-21

Great story!
Wild and confusing happenings!
A story that requires repeated tellings!
A story, as we noted, that all Christians should and must know!

But unlike Webb or his character, Joe Friday,
   You and I must have more than just the facts.
For we must know, understand, and appreciate
   The meaning and the importance of the story.

It is meaningful and it is important because:
It shows Christ's willingness and desire to work
even through those who have failed him.

For Peter,  who, on the night Christ was arrested,
      Had three times denied knowing Him,
   Was the one who, on this strange and terrifying day
      stood up in public,
to proclaim that Christ was Lord
and   to bring order out of a chaotic situation.

This is comforting for all of us who have ever let God down.

It is meaningful and it is important because:
      It fulfilled what Christ had, ten days earlier, said would happen
"you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you."

   And what the prophet Joel had prophesized centuries before
      "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh."

It is meaningful and it is important because
   The coming of the Holy Spirit empowered and enabled the people to do    what Christ commissioned them to do
when he told them that they were
      "To be witnesses and make disciples of and for Him
in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

   And Peter, in his willingness to stand up
      To proclaim and explain to all
   Provided us with an example of fulfilling that great commission
      And of the courage it sometimes takes to do so.

It is meaningful and it is important because
   It was on Pentecost that the church was born
   Born: In the question:  "What should we do?"
      In the answer  "Repent and be baptized!"
      And in the response  when 3000 people did just that.

Luke tells it this way: [2: 37-42]

And It is meaningful and it is important because
   Of one more thing
      A thing that I did not fully recognize in it until this year
      And this is my 18th Pentecost as a pastor

[I would guess that if we still used the phrase the "quick and the dead" in the Nicene Creed, my taking 18 years to figure this out would put me closer to the latter than the former.]

But Paul understood it nearly two millennia ago when he wrote the passage from Romans that called us to worship.

   We who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God
      And we did not receive  a spirit of slavery
      But rather           a spirit of adoption.

As I read those words, I realized that

Pentecost is also meaningful and is also important because
It was when God adopted us by the Holy Spirit
making our relationship one of love and family
Rather than of a formal contract or agreement to obey some laws
On Pentecost, God adopted us as God's own children
   Making us God's family,
not just God's subjects or God's business partners
   Making us joint heirs with our brother Jesus.
This is what connects us.
   For the Holy Spirit, in coming on Pentecost
gave birth to the church as a family
a family headed up by God
a family whose members are to share the family story
   as witnesses and disciple makers
a family open to all who are prepared to respond to God's love,   with love   for God and for each other.

Birth is always dramatic, exciting and yet a bit frightening too

This birth is even more dramatic
Because of its size and scope
Because of the violent wind and divided tongues as of fire
Because of who is adopting us as his own
and   Because the responsibilities that accompany it,
are also opportunities

Thanks to Pentecost, I can say
   My name is Barnes
   I'm a son of God.

You can say the same thing
   Just insert your own name and correct gender

These are the facts of Pentecost
   But not just the facts,
also the meaning, the value, and the importance.