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Pentecost 2016

May 15, 2016 Acts 2: 1-21  Pentecost  “ Come Holy Spirit” by  Rev. June Fothergill   How many of you have ever wondered if you might be a wee bit resistant to the Holy Spirit?   I know I have.  I remember when I was in High School; a dear friend of mine sent me a letter telling me the steps to “receiving the Holy Spirit” which for this friend meant speaking in tongues.   I was curious and decided to try the steps.  I went out by myself somewhere and read and prayed through the steps she had sent me.  Nothing.   Nothing happened.   Disappointed I decided the gift of the Holy Spirit was not for me.   Later in college I was still struggling with this and a local pastor who held a college age group meeting at his home suggested that the coming of the Holy Spirit didn’t have to be with tongues.   It could come as an unexpected insight or idea.  Aha!  That I had experienced, thinking of the nights I would go out walking around campus taking a break from a difficult paper and how sometimes on those walks a new insight would come.    I find that understanding the Holy Spirit is a lifelong under taking! For example, this week many of us are praying that our General Conference will be guided by the Holy Spirit.   Can the Spirit get through all the set agendas, the parliamentary procedures, the limited time frame, the differences of perspective and opinion?  Of course.     Yet, I have my own ideas of what I think the guidance of the Spirit is and they might differ from yours.   Hum, that is confusing.  Shouldn’t the Spirit be leading good hearted, willing disciples in the same direction? As I look at the story in Acts today, I found myself noticing the responses of those people of Jerusalem to the work of the Holy Spirit.  This amazing thing happens.  The Galilean disciples are given the gift of speaking in other languages and the diversity of Jews from all over the globe hears of the “might acts of God’ in their own heart home language.  They are amazed and perplexed that a group of Galilean hicks could do this!   And some of them decided that this was purely a human phenomenon- they must be drunk on new wine they scoffed.  I notice some things. 1.  The Spirit did not come in a monolithic way.  Rather it took a monolithic group- a bunch of Galileans and gave them different languages to speak.  The diversity allowed for more people to hear the good news of God’s mighty acts and participate in the work of the...

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Mother’s Day 2016

May 8    Women’s Stories by  Rev. June Fothergill  Scripture: Acts 16: 16-34,40 Mother’s Day The kids next door told their mother she wasn’t to lift a finger this morning for Mother’s Day. They were going to do all the cooking. So they took out three pots, two frying pans, a double boiler, three mixing bowls, a chopping board, six measuring spoons, eight serving dishes- and Mom was delighted.  She said it was the best Jell-O she ever tasted.  ( p. 134 An Encyclopedia of Humor ed. Lowell D. Streiker, Henrickson Publ. 1998) Today we invited each of to make a name tag honoring our mother’s.  As we do this I realize that each of us has a different experience of our mothers.   On this day we tend to talk about the tender, loving aspects of our experience.  Yet, we know that how we experience our parents can vary a lot.  For some of us memories of our mother’s are not easy ones.  Erma Bombeck quipped  one time, “I came from a family of pioneers. My mother invented guilt in 1936”  ( p. 141 Encyclopedia of Humor..) The truth is that people even mothers are multi faceted.  We have more than one story about  our lives.      Recognizing that about each other and our parents is part of our growth in maturity of faith and life.    A small example of what I mean.  When I was growing up I tended to place my parents into two catagories. My mom was the one who I went to for emotional issues (romantic struggles) and my father was the one I went to about intellectual issues ( what do I write for my history paper).  Yet, I as became an adult and spent time with my folks, I was blessed with some important discussions with my father about emotional issues and discovered my mother was a pretty darn smart woman!  There was more to them than I had seen initially. This morning as we look at this story from Acts and hear the mother poems folks want to share- we also discover that the person we meet have more than one story. They show us a variety of ways we human beings encounter Christ.   Let’s look at the three women in our story as an example.  Three women you say? Come and see. 1. Lydia   Lydia was a merchant of purple cloth.  I can imagine her running her business, efficient, thorough,  maybe even a little bossy.   That is one story about her. One that intrigues us today, for we know so little about the lives of such women in the ancient world.  But that is not her only story. ...

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