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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, May 25, 2007

Pentecost, Whitsunday, Shavuot: God gives the People what they Need

This is a meditation/homily for Sunday, May 27 per the RCL. Use pieces if you wish, with the regular accredation.

Pentecost - coming 7 weeks after Easter commemorates the imparting of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Christ. In earlier days white was worn to this Sunday observance, hence Whit(e)sunday.

Nowadays most Episcopal churches in this country favor a glowing Red for vestments and garments, not white, symbolizing the 'tongue of fire' that rested on each head in the stuffy room where the disciples still congregated, still afraid. There are banners and festive music and sometimes balloons.

Before the fire appeared, there was a sound - like the rush of a violent wind - that filled the whole house they occupied.

I'd like to think that there was not only the sound of wind, but a breath of fresh air that blew through that stuffy house and that subdued, dull room. Perhaps the faith that had been burning within the disciples needed that rushing wind to spark the flame of passion for the Word of God in Christ. That passion let them put their insecurities, egos, doubts, hesitancy all to the side and start the spread of the Good News by many to many. Most of them, like Isaiah before them, were not eloquent, extremely educated in other languages and cultures and perhaps had hidden behind their shortcomings rather than preach, teach and educate through action.

But the Advocate, their Advocate had come, animated them, refreshed them and inspired them to go beyond their self-defined comfort zone.

God provided what the people needed.

Interestingly enough, this celebration coincited with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, held 50 days after Passover. On Shavuot, God gave the people of Israel the Torah, their history and guide in life.
At Passover, the Jews were freed from slavery under Pharoh. At Shvuot, they embraced the Torah and became a people dedicated to serve the One God.

There are many links with Shavuot: in the days before Moses, this date (in the lunar calendar) was said to be the first appearance of a rainbow to Noah- a covenant between God and His people. In the later days, special observances occur on this day: the reading of a liturgical poem and the Book of Ruth during morning synagogue services, the consumption of milk and cheese products, the decoration of homes and synagogues in plants and greenery and finally an all-night study of the Torah.

God provided what the people needed.

Poe-tah-tohs, Poe-tay-tohs. God comes to the rescue. Not JUST by saving us, but by claiming us as his own - whether we look to the Old Covenant or the New, these words from Romans ring true:

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God.

Heirs of God! What an awe-full and wonderful thing! We are God's people - whether on Mt. Sinai or in a rented room. The only place we need seek refuge is in God, fortified by the Spirit of God that empowers us, again and again.

Copyright © 2007 K.L.Joanna Depue and DJ on


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