Sermons 2009
About Pentecost, Pentecost B, 31 May 2009,

Home | Proper 17B, 30 August 2009, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | Proper 16B, 23 August 2009, John 6:56-69 | Pentecost 10 (Proper 14B) 9 August 2009, John 6:35, 41-51 | Pentecost 8B (Proper 12B), John 6:1-21, 26 July 2009 | Pentecost 7B (Proper 11B), 19 July 2009, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 | Pentecost 6B (Proper 10B), 12 July 2009, Mark 6:14-29 | Pentecost 5B (Proper 9B) 5 July 2009, Mark 6:1-13 | Pentecost 4B (Proper 8B), 28 June 2009 | Pentecost 3B (Proper 7B), 21 June 2009 | Pentecost 2B (Proper 6B), 14 June 2009 | About Pentecost, Pentecost B, 31 May 2009, | On the Trinity, Trinity B, 7 June 2009 | Jesus and Prayer, Easter 7B, 24 May 2009, John 17:6-19 | How can we love? Easter 6B, 17May 2009, John 15:9-17 | 2 Sermons: Vineyard and a Baptism, Easter 5B, 10 May 2009, John 15:1-8 | Who's in? Who's out? Easter 4B, 3 May 2009, John 10:11-18 | Sacramental Meals, Easter 3B, 16 April 2009, Luke 24:36b-48 | Resurrection, continued, Doubts, and a Baptism, Easter 2 B, 19 April 2009, John 20:19-31 | He is not here, Easter B, 12 April 2009, Mark 16:1-8 | The Seven Sayings from the Cross, Palm Sunday B 2009 | We wish to see Jesus, Lent 5B, 29 March 1009, John 12:22-33 | For God so loved the world, Lent 4B, 22 March 2009, John 3:14-21 | Out with the money changers! Lent 3B, 15 March 2009, John 2: 13-22 | On taking up the Cross, Lent 2B, 8 March 2009, Mark 8:31-38 | News or the real Good News?, Lent 1B, 1 March 2008, Mark 1: 9-15 | Listen to Him! Epiphany Last B Transfiguration, 22 February 2009, Mark 9:2-9 | What do you mean, demons? Epiphany 4B, 1 February 2009, Mark 1:21-28 | Immediately and discipleship, Epiphany 3B 2009, 25 January 2009, Mark 1:14-20 | Right in front of your eyes, Epiphany 2B, 18 January 2009, John 1:43-51 | In the beginning, water and the Spirit, Epiphany 1B, 11 January 2009, Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11 | In God we trust, Christmas 2B, 4 January 2009, Jeremiah 31:7-14; Matthew 2:1-12

Pentecost 2009


             Pentecost comes from the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks, deriving from its occurrence 50 days after Passover .   Because the early Christians received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on this day, the term is now more commonly used to refer to that event.  


The Feast of Weeks was the second of the three great Jewish feasts. Its name signified that it concluded the period of seven weeks which began with the presentation of the first sheaf of the barley harvest during the Passover celebration.  Thus it was originally an agricultural feast marking the end of the grain harvest and was celebrated during May or June. 


On Pentecost Sunday we enter the period of each year in which we celebrate the ongoing activity of God in our lives. The activity of God has a special meaning for us as Christians because of the life of Jesus. The activity of God and God's relationships with people take on new meaning for us because of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.

            The texts for this day remind us also that the activity of God and God's relationships with humankind did not begin with the life of Jesus. The Hebrew Bible -- our Old Testament – has phrases that we still use to describe activities of God:  Word of God, Glory of God, Wisdom of God, Presence of God, and the Spirit or Breath of God.  These phrases tell us that God has been – and is still -- actively involved in the world even though we cannot actually see or touch God.


Pentecost focuses us on the Spirit of God.  The Holy Spirit is the unifying theme for the Season of Pentecost.  Within the development of Christian theology in general, and Trinitarian Doctrine in particular, the Holy Spirit of God most useful in our struggling attempts to talk about God and about the activities of God at work in the world and in our lives. The Holy Spirit of God is a God-given means by which we are enabled to talk about God.

            For the Pentecost Sunday the story in our Acts of the Apostles reading today is our primary source of information about what happened that day almost 2,000 years ago.  We could hardly celebrate this day in the Church Year without it.  Early Christian tradition placed the Last Supper within the context of the Jewish and the birth of the Church with the gift and coming of the Holy Spirit within the context of the Jewish celebration of Pentecost.

            By the 1st century AD, the Jewish  Feast of Weeks – Pentecost -- had evolved from an agricultural festival to enjoy the first fresh fruits and vegetables of the season and to give portions of these to God and had become also a commemoration of the giving of the Torah.   Hence early Christianity was able to claim not only to have its own "Torah" in the gospels plus the letters of Saint Paul.


Many years would go by before the Church officially became a religious group named "Christian” but the Day of Pentecost was the day of its birth. Much joy and triumph lay ahead – as well as tribulation and trial and tribulation. It was then they remembered what Jesus had been to them and would continue to be through the power of the Holy Spirit.   


Beginning with the fire and flame and wind of Pentecost the Good News spread across the Roman world.   Persecution pushed them out of Jerusalem into Judea and Samaria and then all the world and churches began in many places.

            The Day of Pentecost reminds us that God,  through the Holy Spirit , inspires us within the priesthood of all believers, comes over us with mighty power, gives to us the ability to interpret Holy Scripture, and fulfills the biblical expectation in our time and place. Certainly we must claim the Spirit of God as we celebrate our Day of Pentecost. We must claim the Spirit of God also for the Church and for us today.

            Particularly on the Day of Pentecost, it is important that we claim participation in the ongoing revelation of God, that we are expressions of the work of Holy Spirit in our time and place.  The work of the resurrected Christ through the Holy Spirit, did not end with the Ascension.  We were not left alone, abandoned.  The gift of the Holy Spirit is surety that there will be more of the grace and truth of God to come, that the revelation will continue.  The work of the Holy Spirit continues among us where we are, and among others where we are not, even among those who are very different from us.  But what we do with it in our time and place is up to us.



Sources:  Drawn from the Anchor Bible Dictionary; Lectionary Homiletics for Pentecost Day texts (, and Lectionary Scripture Notes for Pentecost (CSS Publishing)