By Rev Philomeno Kinera

Ezekiel 37:1-14; Romans 8:22-27; and Acts 2:1-21

For generations Pentecost was one of the great feast days of the church; right up there with Easter and Epiphany.  Pentecost the day when the church celebrates the birth of the church.

As we celebrate the birthday of the Church, it is tempting to ask: Are we feeling weary? Maybe, just maybe we are in the valley of dry bones.

I suspect that the followers of Jesus tasted the pain of loss.

I can see them in my mind’s eye all huddled together in an upper room, united in their grief in their own bubble. All their hopes and dreams shattered, their lives in disarray as what they had believed so strongly so passionately was gone.  What were they to do? How could they go on?  How do they face the ‘new normal’ without Jesus?

Perhaps they were arguing, weeping, searching for answers, longing for the security of the way it had been when Jesus was there with them.

As they retold their stories, the LOVE which they had experienced in Jesus began to emerge in their midst. It was as if the room itself was on fire. They could see the power of love ignite among them.  Could it be that the same power of LOVE that they had experienced in Jesus was alive and well in them? It was as if they were all catching the fire; like the flames were resting on each of them. Out of their grief, life was emerging, love was becoming palpable once again. Their joy spilled out onto the streets, and people could see something strange was happening.

Something new was emerging in their very midst, suddenly they began to see, to understand, and they simply could not contain their joy. Something was born among them, something new, something powerful, something they could not have imagined, something beyond their wildest dreams. They were filled with the Spirit of LOVE and all things were possible.

What does this mean? What does it mean for us?

Here we are on this Pentecost Sunday in our own bubble. Some of us our assumptions on security, values and life itself have been challenged.  In our bubble some of us have been re-thinking, challenging, changing, and tinkering with stuff that we were uncertain about, and will be different.

As we struggle to comprehend all that has taken place and unfolding, can we still hear the voice of Jesus?   Something new is happening. A new way of embracing and living in the new normal.

Out of the ravages of our past and the travesties of our present, our questions are opening us to the reality of the LOVE that lives, in, with, though, and beyond us.  It is a powerful LOVE, a LOVE beyond measure, a LOVE that our ancestors experienced in the life and death of Jesus, a LOVE that death could not kill.  A LOVE that our sisters and brothers of other faiths and of no faiths have experienced in life itself. A LOVE so intoxicating that it will inspire us as we conspire with one another to embody that LOVE.

On this Pentecost Sunday let us have the courage to recognize our grief and resolve to tend to the wounds we have suffered.

But let us also recall the power of the LOVE that lives in, with, through and beyond us so that we too can be intoxicated with the desire to embody LOVE. Let us see visions, and dream dreams of what the new normal will be like. It will be different and we may have to speak in different ways to one another and to the world, but we will understand one another as long as LOVE is our guide. Can these bones live?

They might be held together differently than they once were, but the Spirit of LOVE will live and breathe in these bones and it will be as if we have caught fire.

O Thou Who Camest from Above,” by Charles Wesley (The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 501)

O Thou who camest from above,
the pure celestial fire to impart
kindle a flame of sacred love
upon the mean altar of my heart.

There let it for thy glory burn
with inextinguishable blaze,
and trembling to its source return,
in humble prayer and fervent praise.

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