Rector's Message

RevValKenyonPentecost Sunday: Acts 2:1-21 by Canon Val
“And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind …”

We have heard many times the story from Acts describing the day of Pentecost that would change the Church and the world forever. With the crucifixion and resurrection having taken place, Jesus’ disciples have been encountering Jesus in a whole variety of ways over the weeks that followed; that is up until ten days ago. Ten days ago, everything changed, for as the disciples gathered Jesus would say his final farewells to them and as a parting gift to them, he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He then encouraged them to stay put in Jerusalem and wait for what was next, blessing them and then he was lifted up to heaven. As a community they waited, and as a community as we read about it this morning, 10 days later they would share this experience of Pentecost on this wonderfully blowy and life-changing day in Jerusalem.

Now as anyone who has ever been asked to read this passage knows very well, there were a lot of different groups gathered that day in that place (Parthians, Medes, Elomites, residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, as well as those from Pontius, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, including Romans, Cretans and Arabs. As those winds began to blow and the different ones began to speak, it would have been a cacophony of sound assaulting the hears of any who listened.

I’m imagining that at first it sounded like a complete jumble of sound, noise, (think Western Fair midway type of jumble) just noise, and yet, as each one listened, straining to make sense of it all, all these travellers slowly began to hear bits and pieces that began to make sense to them, fragments here and there that were in their own language, telling them of this Jesus and of his message of God’s kingdom.

For it was, you see, wildly important that morning that each person be able to relate to what was being said, otherwise, what’s the point of a message at all if it is not understood by the hearer? It would be as absurd as someone telling us that we had won a multiple-million dollar lottery but telling us it in a language that we did not understand. How crazy would that be, and worse, how tragic, because in not  understanding the language of the message, we could never actually benefit from such a windfall!

For we see in the manner of the sharing of today’s message in Jerusalem, a model for us as we share the Gospel in our words and in our actions. speak in such a way that the message can be heard as broadly and as widely as possible. So that the message of hope that we share can by God’s Holy Spirit, be heard both within and beyond our community. A message of hope as we are surrounded by suffering and loss.

As we enter this season of Pentecost, marked by this glorious beginning (Pentecost is considered the birthday of the Church) we take a deep breath, and then we take another. As we do this we allow the reality of this day of God’s Spirit bursting in upon the earth to sink  deeply into our hearts and lives. We acknowledge this day that marks for the Church and all who follow Jesus, as a time of new beginnings, empowering new beginnings so that we would have the courage and the grace to speak God’s words in a language and in a way that speaks to the cares and concerns of where people live their lives every single day. We celebrate Pentecost, a time of new beginnings, empowered beginnings, asked to be bearers of hope in a troubled time.

©2024 St. Anne's Anglican Church Byron. All rights reserved.