Message by Rev. Carol Kniseley / Title: Dancing with the Wind
I was looking out the back window of our house the other day, when I saw something that took my breath away. A young squirrel had climbed out onto one of the narrowest of limbs and was seemingly oblivious as to just how high off the ground he really was. Be that as it may, what caught my attention was not so much the extreme height of the situation…but the fact that the wind had begun to blow. And just like that, without any warning of any kind that I could see, the squirrel suddenly found himself in for the ride of his life.
Today, three of our young people are preparing to do the same. They have been preparing themselves for this particular moment for the last three years. Studying such things as The Ten Commandments, The Lord’s Prayer, The Apostles Creed and the Bible…just to mention a few. And today…is their day…for discovering just how far out on a limb they are willing to go. Without their parents to speak for them…or their sponsors to act in their behalf…this time the answers to the questions will have to be their own.
Questions like: Do you believe… in God the Father?
Do you believe… in Jesus Christ the Son of God?
Do you believe… in God the Holy Spirit?
Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in Holy Baptism:
To live among God’s faithful people,
To hear his word and share in his supper,
To proclaim the good news of God in Christ
through word and deed,
To serve all people, following the example of our Lord Jesus,
and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?
To which each of the Confirmands will answer: I do…and I ask God to help and guide me.
What better day than on the day of Pentecost to find oneself literally out on a limb…perhaps even for the very first time in one’s life. May I suggest that according to today’s story in the book of Acts…that is precisely where the early followers of Jesus suddenly found themselves. They had somehow gotten themselves out on a very narrow limb…with Jesus no where in sight…and in desperate need of direction.
Enter the Holy Spirit. Not with a mild breeze just enough to break the early morning heat. But with a gust of wind so powerful that it blew the doors right off their hinges. Without any warning of any kind, the room in which some 120 people were hiding was suddenly lit up like a firecracker on the fourth of July.
Only this time, the fireworks weren’t up in the sky but were dangerously close…so much so that flames began to iminate from on top of each person’s head. As the wind began to build…so did the confidence of each one of the disciples. They began to speak in languages that none of them could understand…that is until someone from the outside was able to put it into perspective.
What God had done at
Before we go much further, I need to ask a question of all of us here. When you came here today…knowing that this was the day of Pentecost…did the question cross your mind as to whether or not you still believe? Do you believe…that God still has the power to blow through this congregation with such a gale force that hearts can be transformed and lives can be turned upside down…even to the point that we suddenly find ourselves dangling out on a limb? Ready to take the next big leap…even if it is a leap of faith…in order to dance with the wind?
It occurs to me that as I watched the squirrel high up in the tree…that perhaps what he was really doing was merely dancing with the wind…going with the flow, so to speak. Allowing himself to live in the moment and trust that this is what he was meant to do from the very beginning of his life.
And that is what I believe I would want to say to our three young Confirmands on this their special day. You were each born into this life for a very special reason. From the beginning God has been watching your every step so much so that on the day of your Baptism, it was he who actually held you in his arms and carried you through the Baptismal waters of new life.
From that moment on…you have never once walked alone. In those moments of tremendous triumphs when you just knew you had given your all…it was Jesus himself who cheered the loudest. And in those times when you discovered the true meaning of a broken heart…it was Jesus himself who wiped away each tear.
But it wasn’t until you heard the still small voice that turned your head…even for just a second…that made you turn to follow the truth…did you begin to learn what it truly means to be called by the Holy Spirit.
Good old Martin Luther got it right…when he said: “I believe that I cannot of my own understanding or effort believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him. But, the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel…enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in true faith.” In other words: someone around you knew the story of the gospel and told you. Since the very beginning of the church…that telling has been the work of the Holy Spirit.
And now, it is your turn. To dare to go out on a limb…for Christ and the building up of his kingdom. Because above all else, you know, don’t you…that you were made for this very purpose.
You are a baptized child of God. Born to dance with the wind…and experience for yourself…the true giver of life. Amen