5 June 2022
Day of Pentecost C’22
Acts 2.1-21; John 14.8-17, 25-27
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
North Little Rock, Arkansas
The Rev. Carey Stone <+>

O God our Creator, you spoke the universe into being, and included within it a marvelous variety of diverse peoples, nations, and dialects: Join your Spirit with our spirits and enable each of us to speak in a language that others may be able to hear, understand, and come to know your Son Jesus Christ, until finally all tribes and peoples are united around your heavenly throne. Amen.

  • A Collect for Pentecost by the Rev. Carey Stone<+>


Welcome to the Feast of Pentecost – the Birthday of the Church! The day when the Church of Jesus Christ would go from a local enterprise headquartered at Jerusalem, to a global enterprise. There were 120 people at the Church’s first birthday, among them were the twelve apostles, and of course Mary the blessed Mother of Jesus. They had gathered in an upstairs party room that had either been rented or donated for the occasion. They were not told a time limit on how long they would have to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The watch party would end up lasting for nine days, as they had been told by Jesus just before he ascended, to go to Jerusalem and wait. Nothing is coincidental with God. The number 9 in biblical numerology symbolizes completeness, it was the 9th hour that Jesus had died on Good Friday, the holiest Day of atonement in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, occurs on the 9th day of the seventh month. There are nine fruits of the Spirit: Faithfulness, Gentleness, Goodness, Joy, Kindness, Long suffering, Love, Peace and Self-control. Those first 120 followers of Jesus faithfully waited and prayed, then on the day known in the Sacred Jewish Year as Pentecost the Holy Spirt arrived!

Pentecost means “50th Day” and occurred fifty days after Easter. Before launching into the retelling of events he uses the word “like” “From heaven there came a sound “like” the rush of a violent wind,” (but it wasn’t wind) and the force of it blew open the doors and windows and flowed throughout the large room. After the wind Luke notes that “divided tongues “as of fire” or “like a fire” (but it wasn’t fire as we know earthly fire that’s destructive, but a heavenly fire that cleansed and purified) with a portion of this celestial fire resting on each of the 120 disciples. Then something miraculous and mesmerizing happened, Luke tells us in the reading from the book of Acts: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them ability.” The people that were gathered for the Jewish festival heard a commotion and came and stood outside. They were all astonished as each one heard them speaking in their native language: Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Judeans, Cappadocians, Pontians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Libyans, Cyrenians, Romans, Cretans, and Arabians hearing in their own languages these Galileans speaking about God’s deeds of power. They were all amazed and perplexed and wondered what on earth this could mean? What it meant? God’s whole message for the whole world of God’s reconciling love and salvation and the coming of a new kingdom where no sword would be drawn, where the oppressed would be set free, where justice and peace would reign for all people. From that day forward, the Holy Spirit would be taking the lead to spread this wonderfully good news to the four corners of the earth. In the history and tradition of the Church symbols capturing and memorializing these miraculous events have been carried forward, the Dove representing the descent of the Spirit of peace, the colors red, orange and yellow to symbolize the spreading power of God, and the multiple languages. In various tribes and cultures, they would come up with other indigenous symbols to represent the movement of the Holy Spirit. One of my favorites can be seen in your service leaflet toward the back. The image represents the Celtic symbol of a “Wild Goose.” Our ancestors coined the phrase “going on a wild goose chase” to describe their literal experience of trying to capture a goose in order to eat it, and metaphorically the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives, moving in erratic, unpredictable, and sometimes unsettling ways.

Today we heard the gospel read in seven languages: Greek, French, Spanish, German, Latin, Russian, and English. According to that wise old sage, St. Google…at the present time there are 7,100 languages worldwide, and among each of those languages, are multiple dialects that are based upon the region where the people live and tribal culture that they were all born into – yes- even all of us here today.

The Holy Spirit has come and is moving among us bringing faith, hope, love, and new life, and sometimes in very unexpected people, in unexpected places, in unexpected directions, sometimes using unconventional methods to achieve the Universal aim of God’s unconditional love being known by every person, in everyplace.

Because there are all kinds of people in the world God needs all kinds of people like us, to speak our truth and sound our note as only we can, and as we open ourselves to this adventure – don’t be surprised if the experience takes us on “a wild goose chase!”