RCL Year C, Day of Pentecost
Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:25-35 and 37, Romans 8:14-17, Saint John 14:8-17

The reading today from the Book of Acts tells the story of the Day of Pentecost. After Jesus ascends into heaven, the Apostles are gathered together in one place, and the Holy Spirit fills them and gives them the ability to speak in other languages, creating the church and beginning for all time the presence of God in the church.

In the Gospel today, Jesus declares that the Holy Spirit will be present in the church forever.[1] And this abiding presence of God in the church means that the church cannot fail permanently. Individual members of the church and the entire church in a single body may choose not to listen to the Holy Spirit, but the presence of that Spirit endures. It endures, as Jesus says, forever. It never leaves.

This is good news. For we can fail and not lose the presence of God. We have the hope that springs from the confidence that God is always near. God is just a breath away.

Where this becomes a sermon is when I ask you to take advantage of God’s presence. Whoever you are, whatever you have done, you are God’s. God’s image is in you. You can find it in you. Others can find it in you. And when we find it in ourselves and when we find it in each other, we are in God’s presence, which is where we want to be.

I think this is the daily challenge of living in the Spirit: knowing the Spirit is with us and staying near that Presence. When we recognize the image of God in one another, we are sharing with one another the abiding presence of God among us.

For this Easter Season, that ends today, my working definition of sanity has been being able to see the hand of God in our lives. Seeing that hand is being in that Presence. Not seeing that hand is to wander where none of us wants to go.

[1] Saint John 14:16.