by Bob Wickizer

Bob Wickizer
Acts 2:1-21

The Birthday Church

Happy Birthday
Do you know whose birthday is today? Can you guess who it is?
The Church.
(Actually the Church has two birthdays: 1 on the calendar - Advent and 2 in the Bible - Pentecost)
What happened on Easter? [resurrection]
What happened for the first fifty days after the first Easter? [Jesus appeared to people]
How about ten days ago, what happened then? [ascension]
What is the big fuss about today then? [Coming of the Holy Spirit]
Here are two examples showing how artists imagined the experience of Pentecost
The first is nearly 700 years old. See the mighty rushing wind and the dove?
The second is modern. See how the woman's hair almost looks like it is on fire?

Here are some ways the Church talks about the Holy Spirit as fire, as wind, as water, as a seal, as oil and as a dove. Fire is the Spirit's power to purify us. Water fills us with spiritual life. The seal of the Spirit is the promise of salvation. Oil is used for healing and the Holy Spirit as a dove means that the Holy Spirit goes between God and humankind.

The most important symbol of Pentecost today is the seal. We baptized Breandan Kelly this morning and as part of that baptism we said (turn to page 307, 308) ''You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ's own forever.''

Each one of you and Brendan now are members of the Birthday Church. Let me tell you a story about the Birthday Church .

Once upon a time there was a church where each room was set up as a party room. The kindergarten partied, the choir partied, the office staff partied, the people partied, the soup kitchen people partied. Everybody partied. They were all full of joy and were very very happy.
The people of the Birthday Church were full of the Spirit. Sometimes they worshipped outside on the lawn. Sometimes they worshipped in their sanctuary like we are today and sometimes they worshipped in the most unlikely places - at t ...

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