Year B Pentecost Acts 2
Are You Pentecostal?
Acts 2:1-21

The well known author and preacher Fred Craddock tells a rather funny story about a lecture he was giving: A few years ago, when he was on the west coast speaking at a seminary, just before the first lecture, one of the students stood up and said, "Before you speak, I need to know if you are Pentecostal." The room grew silent. Craddock said he looked around for the Dean of the seminary! He was no where to be found. The student continued with his quiz right in front of everybody. Craddock was taken aback, and so he said, "Do you mean do I belong to the Pentecostal Church?" He said, "No, I mean are you Pentecostal?" Craddock said, "Are you asking me if I am charismatic?" the student said, "I am asking you if you are Pentecostal."

Craddock said, "Do you want to know if I speak in tongues?" He said, "I want to know if you are Pentecostal." Craddock said, "I don't know what your question is." The student said, "Obviously, you are not Pentecostal." He left.

What are we talking about this morning? Is the church supposed to use the word Pentecost only as a noun or can it be used as an adjective? And so I ask you: Are you Pentecostal?

In spite of the fact that the church doesn't know what the adjective means, the church insist that the word remain in our vocabulary as an adjective.

The church is unwilling for the word simply to be a noun, to represent a date, a place, an event in the history of the church, refuses for it to be simply a memory, an item, something back there somewhere. The church insists that the word is adjective; it describes the church. The word, then, is "Pentecostal."

If the church is alive in the world it is Pentecostal. And you thought we were Methodist! [Insert your own tradition here.]

How do we keep this aliveness, this fire burning, this spirit moving? What must exist in us, around us, and through us, if we are to be Pentecostal?

Simply these three things:

  1. We Are To Be Of One Accord
  2. We Are To Join Together Constantly in Prayer
  3. We Are To Repent

The Rush and the Hush of Pentecost
Acts 2:1-21

One of the most endangered species in the world today is “family time.” In fact, you could make the case that there are too many kids being raised in families who do not know the meaning of “family time.”

Traveling down an interstate on a long car trip used to be good “family time.” Anybody remember “The Alphabet Game” where kids and grown-ups could work their way from A to Z by getting the letters off the highway signs? Did any of your families sing together those awful camp songs that have a hundred verses? At the very least the back seat could go to war with the front seat and the jump seats. Fights over what music the whole family had to listen to; explanations as to the answer to the question “Are we there yet?” every two miles—-that was the stuff family trips were made of.

Then came the Walkman. Then came built-in DVD players.

Now a long-distance trip with a car full of kids can be the quietest, most solo experience a parent can have.

  • One kid is plugged into their IPOD, moving to a beat no one else can hear.
  • Another passenger is playing a video game—-eyes and ears focused on a scenario that has nothing to do with what is outside the windows.
  • Texting on a cell phone while plugged into an MP3 player keeps hands, eyes, and ears connected to friends who are far away, and keeps the rest of the family in the car completely distant.

Try pointing out a funny sign, a beautiful sight, or just asking a question, next time you are the only un-plugged one in the car. See how much response you get. The car might be pulsing with music, video games, cell phone conversations, and movies. But the car hums with nothing but a hush.

There are two ways to know if things are going well—in your world–-be it your family, your home, your office, your church, your community.

  1. If things are going well there is a lot of peace and quiet.
  2. If things are going well there is a lot of noise and commotion.

Within both the noise and the silence there are the reassuring sounds of community and connection.

In a life of faith there are both days of din and days that are dampered. In a life of faith God appears to us in both the rushing mighty wind and in the still small voice. In song and in silence, in coming together and going apart, in private meditation and in public prayer—-you can hear the voice of God.

The God who grandstanded as a pillar of fire by night and a cloud of smoke by day to the Israelites, also hid out in the “still small voice” that spoke to praying prophets. Jesus spoke to the multitudes, preached to huge crowds, prayed thankfully for food he did not yet have before thousands. But Jesus also wandered into the wilderness, climbed up mountaintops, took stormy sea voyages, just to get away from the noise and the needs of the crowds pressing in on him. Like Jesus, we all need to... presents Leonard Sweet