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Acts 2: 1-21; John 20: 19-23
Day of Pentecost

   Grace, peace and mercy abide with you from Creator, Redeemer and Agitating Spirit. Amen. You may have noticed that I used the adjective of “Agitating” in describing the Spirit. I do that purposefully because of a funeral that I attended quite a few years ago. It was the funeral for one of Kate’s aunts. In describing the character of the woman who had died a family member spoke about her (and her husband) as the agitators of the seniors’ complex in which they lived. The speaker shared that many people in that complex were convinced that nothing exciting would have happened there without the energy and zest that the woman and her husband had in putting activities together and organizing theme dinners, games nights and even bus excursions. What was so important about the events that were organized was that there began to be a sense of community developing, people began to get know each other better and some even said it felt like we were becoming an extended family. I have been thinking about the reference to Kate’s aunt as an “agitator” all week as I have been contemplating the readings for this Pentecost Sunday, especially the readings from Acts chapter 2, which is assigned for all three years of the church’s Revised Common Lectionary, and from John chapter 20, which is the Gospel assigned for Year A. Now, just to put some context into the reading from Acts, chapter 2. For Jews the festival of Pentecost was celebrated 50 days after the second day of the festival of Passover and it was required that all Jewish males must make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and make an offering of the first-fruits at the Temple. Beneath the names mentioned in the readingfrom Acts there is geography - places that today we would identify as: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, and then into the Mediterranean, West Jordan (Arabs), people from all the known world have come to Jerusalem. And into this gathering of all the nations the Spirit comes to the disciples and agitates them from the place where they were all gathered and sends them out to proclaim the message of God’s love shown to the world in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus the Christ. What happens in this Pentecost event is something that is totally unexpected by the people and the disciples. God’s agitating Spirit descends and the whole idea of this gathering is changed for all eternity. Which is NOT to say that Pentecost happened some two thousand years ago and that was it. One commentator talked about how the whole book of the Acts of the Apostles shows how the Pentecost experience repeats itself again and again as the Apostles bring God message of love and peace into the lives of unexpected people – like Gentiles, the non-binary Ethiopian eunuch, slaves or people of other faiths. God’s agitating Spirit was, and is, sending the church, the people, the followers of Jesus out into the world to bring this message of love and peace so that it might be made known throughout the entire world. That is what we, as the present day followers of Jesus, are experiencing anew today and every day, the word of God on our lips and in our hearts and in our actions telling everyone about the powerful love, peace and acceptance of God through Jesus the Christ. The agitating Spirit of Jesus is calling us out from the place where we have gathered to go out and speak the word of God’s love and peace to a world that is becoming increasingly fractured and polarized and fearful of “the other.” People of faith are called to speak up for the rights of those who are on the fringe of society, those who are discriminated against because of the colour of their skin or the people they choose to love, their gender identity, their socio-economic status, their ethnic identity, and so much more. People of faith are being called to speak up for the safety and security of creation, for the wise stewardship of what God has entrusted to humanity from the beginning. The disciples in the story of that Pentecost so many years ago didn’t know what they were going to say as they spoke in the languages of so many of the people of the world at that time. They simply spoke, by the power of that agitating Spirit, in a way that those who were gathered in Jerusalem would able to understand the great acts of God in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus the Christ. Another commentator spoke of how church people sometimes use “church-speak” in a way that makes it impossible for others to understand what is being said. The example the commentator used was a church sign he saw which, as he explained it, read: “EPH 1 colon 3 dash 11”; and the commentators suggestion was that lots of people driving by the sign had no idea what the message of the sign was. The agitating Spirit calls us out to clearly proclaim the message of God’s love in a way that everyone will be able to understand. That agitating Spirit calls us to make connections with others, to work together with others to bring about justice and speak truth to power that all of God’s creation would have renewal and community. Pentecost completes Easter, Easter shows us a people who are left behind with nothing to go on but fond memories and vague hopes.With Pentecost the church affirms that Christ’s promise to be with us and to send another to lead, guide, teach, empower is fulfilled and the church is not abandoned, is not orphaned. Rather,it is promised that in our midst the agitating Spirit of Christ is there with us also. We do better together than we do alone because the Spirit is there in the midst of us. The Holy Spirit brings the commission from God to the Church to go into the world. The agitating Spirit comes from God through Christ to the church to empower us to be led in Christ’s name. So, just as Kate’s aunt was called an agitator who helped build a community, an extended family, so, too, the agitating Spirit of Pentecost builds us into a community of those love and led by God who are called out (which, by the way, is what ekklesia, the Greek word for church means, – called out) to bring to all people, in ways that they will be able to understand, the message that GOD LOVES ALL OF GOD’S CREATION. So let the agitating Spirit of Jesus be in us all and let us leave here being the love of God in the world today. Let it be so. Amen.