Pentecost – Living As Dreamers
May 24, 2015
One of the phrases that my father (a realist)
used to say all the time to my siblings and I was:
“You’re living in a dream world!”
“You’re living in a dream world!”
Well my friends,
it’s Pentecost Sunday…and it’s a day in which all of us
Here’s how Acts tells it…
Jesus’ followers have been told to stay in Jerusalem
until they are filled with the Holy Spirit.
I suppose at some point they must have wondered…
What does it feel like to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
Will we even know when it happens?
They needn’t have worried.
The Spirit isn’t all that subtle in the book of Acts….
She comes with the sound of a rush of a violent wind.
They look around and they see fire!
Over the heads of each of them is something which looks like a flame!
And in a kind of reversal of the story of the tower of Babel,
as the disciples begin speak about God,
they aren’t just babbling.
People who are visiting Jerusalem from all over the ancient world,
for the festival of Pentecost
can understand them – they hear them speaking in their own language!
The confused crowd asks, understandably, “What does this mean?”
The Apostle Peter tries to answer their question. [i]
“This is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”
Except that wasn’t quite what was spoken through the prophet Joel.
Peter adds some emphasis about the Spirit –
how it will lead people to prophesy.
“What does this mean?” the crowd wonders.
“It means God’s Spirit is here,” Peter insists.
“Expect to hear prophecy, dreams and visions.
From all of us.”
Words like “prophecy” and “visions” may
make us think about those people in New York City standing on street corners
preaching about the end of the world.
But Pentecost isn’t about that kind of prophecy.
Peter isn’t saying that God’s Spirit
allows us to see the future.
Peter’s Pentecost speech explains what God is making possible in the here and now.
Pentecost is not just the end of the Easter season,
or an opportunity to wear red shoes and special nails.
(though it is a good opportunity for that!)
Pentecost is an invitation to dream.
Pentecost is a recognition that we are in fact a community
living in a dream world.
All of us –
Men and women.
Old and young.
Slaves and free.
We are a community of dreamers.
At Pentecost, the Spirit unleashes a whirlwind
to help us dream that maybe the impossible is possible:
Maybe there can be peace.
Maybe there can be justice.
Maybe racism can be overcome and hunger can be eliminated.
Maybe our addictions can be healed.
Maybe our anxieties can be stilled.
Pentecost helps us see that
maybe what we thought was a foolish hope for the future:
for ourselves, for our church, for our world
can be within reach.
This weekend 35 years after he was assassinated,
Archbishop Oscar Romero was beatified.
He finally moved one step closer
to official sainthood by the Roman Catholic church.
Romero was an exceptional dreamer.
Demanding social justice and
denouncing inequality in El Salvador,
he insisted that God could make possible
the things other people couldn’t see.
Dreams don’t always have to be so dramatic, however.
And according to Acts 2, dreaming isn’t restricted to certain people,
but is given to “all flesh.”
All of us are living in a dream world.
What is your dream for yourself, the church or the world today?
In our last few moments, I’d like you to write it down on the index card.
Bring it forward when you come for Communion.
Place it in the basket at the baptismal font.
We’ll post them on the windows for the next few weeks.
We’ll include them in our prayers.
Take a moment and write down your dream.
Let us pray:
Come Holy Spirit.
Help us dare to prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams.
Show us the power of wind and flame move among us
and out into the world.