Why do Christians love torture?
Trinity Sunday

Pentecost

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Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
Acts 2:1-21
John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Are we ever really alone?  Were we built to be alone?  Even in our loneliest moments, is there some present with us?

In Genesis 1: 26 - 27, even God seems to be creating with company, "Let us make humankind* in our image, according to our likeness..."  Our likeness?  Who is he creating with?  He goes on to create man and woman "in his image."  Huh.  It is important to note that these texts have been studied and translated and unpacked so many times, this isn't just an error in pronoun.  God is referring to other presences with him at creation.

Even God is not alone. 

It seems like a lot of our conversation around our connections to God involve being in relationship.

It is Pentecost, a day some refer to as the birthday of the Christian Church.  It is the day on which Christian churches recognize and celebrate receiving the Holy Spirit.  Pentecost is a Jewish festival, held fifty days after the Passover as a  celebration of Moses receiving the Law from God on Mount Sinai.  As the story is told in Acts, a group of faithful Jews from all over the world had gathered in Jerusalem for morning prayer on Pentecost when they were overcome by the presence of the spirit, and each of them was able to speak in tongues that each could understand in spite of their geographic and politic diversity.  This community of Christian Jews recognized this experience of the spirit as a sign, and over time, Christians began to celebrate Pentecost as another chapter in the history of God and the people, a time when the spirit descended.

The early church at the time of this visitation of the spirit was in difficult straights.  The end times that they believed messiah would initiate had not come.  Christians were being sought out and persecuted.  There was tension between Christian Jews and non-Christian Jews, and everyone was still trying to sort out how a daily growing crop of Gentiles who followed a martyred Jew fit into the mix. 

We wonder - is it possible that through the spirit, we are never intended to face life alone.

This week we get to see some different insights in to how The Spirit is present with people and how The Spirit works in the world.

First off we read one of the more dramatic scenes in our Holy Scriptures--Ezekiel's vision of the valley of dry bones being regenereated in to life.  We get to read a wonderful conversation between Ezekiel and God where God gives Ezekiel the chance to do some impressive work.  He gets to call the dry bones of Israel back together and once they are back together he calls on The Breath / The Spirit to come and fill the bones and give them life.  Notice, in this description of Israel being revived, none of this is done alone and it is the Spirit / Breath that is necessary to make it all happen.

The Psalmist also sings a similar sentiment as he speaks about the wonders and works and powers of God, he points specifically (in verse 30) toward God sending The Spirit that Creates and Renews.  Again, God is in relationship with humans and the world to make it all work together.

In the passage from John we find Jesus explaining to his followers that after he left he would be sending an Advocate.  He explains a lot of the mechanics of what the Advocate would do for the followers.  It / He would testify on behalf of God the Father, it / He would prove the world wrong where it was wrong, it / He would guide the people in truth and would speak to the people on behalf of the Father and the Son.  It sounds like quite an intimate relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Advocate.

And then in Acts we see in the classic Christian Pentecost text--the story of the flames of fire coming down and the people speaking in other languages, etc.  From the very beginning of this story it is important to note that none of these folks are alone.  The Spirit shows up to them when they are together.


-Are there times when you believe you are alone?  When that time is past, do you think differently about your "aloneness?"
-Do you believe that you have ever been truly alone?
-How are you aware of the "Breath" of God in your life?


WE DIDNT START THE FIRE BY BILLY JOEL

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, "The King and I" and "The Catcher in the Rye"

Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

CHORUS:
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser aand Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy hn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, "Rock Around the Clock"

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, "Peyton Place", trouble in the Suez

CHORUS:
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, "Bridge on the River Kwai"

Lebanon, Charlse de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, "Psycho", Belgians in the Congo

CHORUS:
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichmann, "Stranger in a Strange Land"
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

"Lawrence of Arabia", British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

CHORUS:
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodsto/ck/, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

"Wheel of Fortune", Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore

CHORUS:
We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...

Comments

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Nan Powell

Wow! Great graphics and look at that song! Good article. Nan

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