It has been a tough week in the news.
We have seen more attacks by Daesh (aka ISIS).
We are still in the midst of some very frustrating presidential elections.
The so-called “bathroom bill” has been forced on our schools.
And Justin Bieber is reportedly working on a new album.
After we are done cringing,
All of that might be enough to make us feel restless, fearful, and alone.
Feelings that have the tendency to turn us inward –
To blind our eyes,
And cover our ears;
To close the gates,
To hoard our assets,
To hunker down,
To dig in,
And stay put,
Lest the world notice us,
And bring persecution our way as well.
But staying put, tucked away in a corner,
Is not what Jesus has in mind for us.
In the reading from Genesis this morning,
we remember the good folks who came from the east.
They came and found some nice land, and decided to build a city there.
It seems harmless enough, except this was not what God was hoping for.
Just 10 chapters earlier in Genesis,
God’s command was to fill the whole earth!
But by building this city with this tower,
They told God that they’d rather stay put
They’d rather not fill the earth.
Going forward from there would be too much of a risk.
They’d rather keep this comfort, this land, and this city.
To wait things out, and play the long game.
And that is so detestable to God:
To reject His will for the sake of a vanity project –
To be closed when you should be open,
To be hidden, when you should be visible
To be silent when you should speak,
To keep when you should give,
And to stay when you should go
That He would come down Himself and put a stop to it.
It didn’t have to be this way.
The one language could have been used for good.
It could have been used for God’s glory.
Through the one language the whole world shared,
The Gospel proclaimed in Genesis 3 could have been spread!
That God Himself would come and crush the serpent’s head,
Even as that serpent would bruise His heel.
He would not come to confuse us or harm us or ruin our fun,
But to draw us to Himself, and to save us.
That’s the Gospel He wanted to fill the whole world!
And it’s the Gospel we’ve been celebrating for these last 50 days of Easter!
That Jesus has come.
Jesus has died our death.
He has buried in our tomb.
And He has been given the same resurrection He now promises to us!
Only one thing is left to round it all out.
On the day of Pentecost, all those peoples with different languages,
Generations upon generations later, having been dispersed,
Were gathered into one place (Jerusalem).
And so Jesus makes good on the promise He spoke in today’s Gospel:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
On Pentecost, we have the climax of the Divine conspiracy
Conspire – meaning: “To breathe together.”
The Father says “Go.”
The Son says, “I’ll go.”
The Holy Spirit says, “I will lead you.”
And together this day,
Jesus and His Father send down their Holy Spirit for all of us.
He comes – sounding like wind, and looking like fire.
The Holy Spirit falls on the Apostles.
And causes them to speak –
Not in some unknown tongue or angelic language,
But in the languages of all those people gathered.
And so on Pentecost is Babel undone.
Because God, through His Apostles,
Speaks one Word – Christ Crucified
With one Voice, the viva vox,
The living voice of the living Jesus Himself
And He speaks it to one world,
Lost in sin and death and darkness.
And in that one Word, He brings one Peace.
Not as the world gives, peace which is so frequently broken by war,
But peace between God and man,
Found nowhere, except in Jesus Christ, and Him crucified for us.
And if you’d like to know what those words sounded like, here they are in your own tongue; this is the end of Peter’s sermon:
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
(Acts 2:36-41 ESV)
So this means that Pentecost is not just for the Apostles;
But Pentecost is for you!
It is yours in your baptism!
It is yours in the preaching of Gospel!
And happily, it is not only yours.
It is, in fact, for you, and for your children, and for all who are far off.
The least the last the lost and the dead,
For our friends, and our enemies,
For the people you know who desperately needs Christ,
Even if they don’t know it yet.
It is for them, too.
So filled now with the Spirit at Font and Pulpit,
And filled now with Jesus, at this very altar,
Pentecost sends us out to a world that is still speaking gibberish.
We will not sit tight.
We will not stay hidden.
We will not be quiet.
But neither will we go and speak in anger or fear.
We go in peace –
Loved by our One Heavenly Father
Led by His one Holy Spirit,
Speaking with one voice, the living voice of Jesus, and His resurrection,
Heading forward to our one home in Eden.
Rise! Let us go from here.