This sermon is prepared for the
Festival of Pentecost, May 15, 2005, based on Acts 2:1, and presented at
Dear Friends in Christ,
They say the Holy Spirit is like the wind. You can’t see the wind, but you know it is there when you see what is has affected: leaves rustle, flags wave and clouds float by. On the Day of Pentecost, according to Acts chapter 2, the disciples of Jesus couldn’t see the arrival of the Holy Spirit, but oh did they know it was present because of what it did to them! They could speak in other languages and folks present in the crowd could understand them. Those disciples felt themselves emboldened to share the good news of Jesus Christ. This “boldness” lasted for the rest of their lives as each one of them too great risks to tell others what Jesus had done for the sake of the world.
We are almost 2,000 years after that Pentecost Experience
The twelve youth that are today affirming their baptism are some of our best evidence for the Spirit’s presence.
Each one of them has prepared a Faith Statement. We asked them to respond to this question: If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to prove it? They have given me permission to share some of what they wrote with you today. I hope you too will see evidence of God’s Holy Spirit in their lives. I see great evidence of a boldness and courage for Christ that just might put a lot of others in our midst to shame.
Ryan Miller writes: “My Mom & Dad kept their promise to bring me up a Christian when they baptized me. Now it is my turn to say I want to continue living a Christian life. Because if God were not in my life I don’t know where I would be or what my future would be without him as my shepherd.”
Lucas Burgess writes: “Some people say that a person’s actions speak louder than words. Just saying that you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins is not enough. If you truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, your actions will show other people what you believe…I want to center my life on God and I want my actions to reflect this decision.”
Annie Budion writes: “(my memory verse) says to me that I’m ready for God to do with me as he wishes so that I may spread his word. While at the same time I know that he’s there for me when I need help, as long as I ask for it. My faith is important to me because without it I wouldn’t know what to do with my life and I wouldn’t know whom I could go to in a time of need.”
Katie Boyd writes about her experiences in being part of the Resurrection Youth Group: “I thoroughly enjoy being part of a wonderful youth group. I especially enjoy the youth retreats. Every time I go on a youth retreat I bring back a Christian shirt and wear it everywhere, to help spread the word of God…And Katie further emphasized her faith when she dedicated her paper to her grandfather, Franklin Boyd, “who went into eternal life on January 9, 2004.”
Troy Slater writes: “I tell people I’m a Christian…..Being a
Christian means to live with peace, love and people to care about you, and to
love the Lord, and worship him always.”
Jacob Miller writes: “Here are ten things that would probably get me convicted as being a good, actively worshipping Lutheran…..(1) My church attendance – I try to always attend services, even if out of town; at the local place of worship…..(2) The way I scream when someone uses the Lord’s name in vain – It’s ugly…..I like showing others that I go to church and don’t mind “working” for God. It makes me feel good inside to go to bed, wake up each day and try to spend my day being the person God wants me to be.”
Brittany Erb writes that she prays every day, even at school…..She does something that most of these youth do: she invites friends to church to experience the power of the Holy Spirit…She writes further: “Being a Christian is very important to me and the way I live my life. The word of the Lord weighs in on my decisions everyday. Jesus is my strength when I am weak. He is my belayer when I fall.”
Rory Corrao lists a number of things that she does: acolyte, go to church and youth group every Sunday, sing in the teenage choir, eat communion every Sunday, say prayers every night before I go to bed. She writes: “When I sat down and thought of what makes me a Christian I never realize that a lot of what I just did naturally with my friends was a “Christian” thing…like talking about what new song on the Christian radio station we like best…what we think about the new Pope…what we did at church last week…..I never dreamed that the things I do everyday would be my definition of what a Christian is.”
Kayla Lenox Dickerson used each of the letters in the word “Christian” to describe her Christian faith. “S” is for singing to God through songs like “God Is An Awesome God”…..she praises God everyday by praying and singing Christian songs. The “T” is for wearing Christian T-shirts from Lost and Found and summer trips. The “N” is for never to stop listening to Christian music…..
Heather Slater describes the evidence for Christianity that you would find in her home: “Some of the things that you would see when you walk into my room is my Bible on my nightstand, Bible verses spread throughout my room, a template with a date and description of my baptism, and my first communion on them. Also if you were to walk through my house you would see a picture of Jesus, a template with the Lord’s Prayer engraved on it, Christian CD’s and books.”
Ashley Lindberg writes: “One of my friends doesn’t believe or have any faith in God anymore. I try to get her to go to church hoping that she can learn about the things he can do for her but she still says no. It makes me sad that she won’t try even one more time; I hope she can be like me and realize how much everyone needs God in their life…..About six years of Church has gotten me this far in my faith; I wonder how many fifty or more years of attending church will get me!”
Thomas Berg writes: “Once I was baptized I joined the Christian family. Once I was a Christian I began to follow in the steps of Jesus…..When I glance at myself in the mirror, I see that I am a Christian. Because I am imperfect. When I search for guidance and wisdom, I look in one place. The Holy Bible…..He concludes with this thought that came into his mind when he came to confirmation class: I am just an ordinary person who is there is learn and feel God’s grace…..”
If you have ever wondered about how effective are the Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Confirmation Program, and the Youth Program of Resurrection, you now see some of the results. It works so well when there is a firm partnership between home and church in nurturing the faith of our children and youth in becoming mature and vital Christians.
Yes, there is indeed evidence of the Holy Spirit working in our midst.
Thanks be to God! Amen.