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05/15/16 Pentecost Sunday - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Pentecost Sunday
 

  • From our second reading from 1st Corinthians: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
    there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.  To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit...”
  • So it’s appropriate that we each ask ourselves today: What gifts has God given me, and how am I called to use them?
  • From the Gospel of John Jesus tells us that He came “…that we might have life, and have it more abundantly…”
  • Jesus never told us to settle for less
  • None of us were put here to live inconsequential lives
  • Jesus didn’t give His life for us so that we could just get by in this world… He died that we might make a difference in this world
  • We don’t need to join in the food fights that may be going on around us…
  • We each have the power to choose how we will live in this world
  • And that power comes from the Holy Spirit who resides in each of us, and in all of humanity
  • Though the power of the Holy Spirit, we’re not to stand by idly as we watch the world decay around us…
  • We’re called to counter that decay by showing those around us that there is still hope
  • We’re called to counter that decay by speaking up for what’s right and good in a spirit of love rather than hate
  • We’re called to counter that decay by living lives of integrity and faith
  • There are still things worth fighting for in this world
  • But when we fight – We must fight not as the world has taught us to fight, but as Jesus has taught usthrough the example of His life
  • We fight for goodness and justice, and peace not with hate or violence, but with the power of love that comes from the Holy Spirit…
  • It’s often much easier to become “negative” and call it being “realistic,” than to have “hope,” and risk being called a “dreamer…”
  • Jesus was a dreamer… He dreamt of a world where people could live together in peace and harmony…
  • He dreamt of goodness overcoming evil…
  • He dreamt of the power of love conquering hate…
  • And His dreams have been carried forward by courageous men and women over the centuries, who were laughed at and persecuted by the world, for daring to dream
  • We too are called to dream of a better world… and to not only dream, but to work for a better world… But how is this done?
  • The world has given us many examples in our own lifetimes of men and women who have fought the good fight through love and non-violence and whose legacies have prevailed in changing the world for the better
  • We know as Christians that we’re called to follow Jesus in all things, and under all circumstances… But do we also understand, that to follow Jesus will require us to be different too?
    • Different in ways that may also make us unpopular?
    • Different in ways that may bring us ridicule?..
  • The very power of the Creator of the universe is offered to each of us for the taking… Yet how often do we dismiss it as more “legend” than real?
  • In order to appreciate how big God is… We need to learn to appreciate how small we are…
  • When we can begin to put ourselves and our lives into perspective in relation to all of Creation… We will slowly begin to see as God sees
  • Our goal should always be to try to see as Christ sees
  • We do this by working daily to empty ourselves of our inherent prejudices… by recognizing our own brokenness… by acknowledging our limited understanding… by working to be grateful for all that God has given us… by being open to new ideas… and by learning to let go of what was, in order to embrace what will be…  
  • I’ll close with a quote from Paula D’Arcy who wrote: “…(the) Spirit moves in each thing, a deep knowledge laboring tirelessly on our behalf, willing us to recognize the difference between the life we’re living, and the life that wants to be known and lived in usWe are here for so much more than we realize.  In the end, the goal does not rest on being successful or even happyIt’s about finding a way through the layers of resistance, that keep us frightened and small.” (Waking Up to This Day; Pg. 3).

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