top of page

Confirmation Sunday

Updated: Jun 2

wild flowers inside old work boots, we are called to put ourselves in the shoes of others

Sermon by Pastor Joel

Day of Pentecost

May 19, 2024


Acts 2:1-21

Romans 8:22-27

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

An opening crawl is played on the monitors at church with the following words to the Star Wars theme song: About 14 years ago in a font not so far away six human babies were taken against their will by parents and sponsors and cold water was poured over their heads. Some of them screamed. Some of them slept through the whole event. Some of them just looked up with wonder. Over the years they came to understand what had happened to them. Their understanding grew as they approached the age of reason. During the last two years they have spent significant time together learning about the love of God and serving their neighbours in need. And today Thomas, Delphine, Liam, Kaiden, Elisabeth, and Thomas #2 come forward in community to say yes to their baptism. Today is the confirmation of their faith.

It’s been 47 years since the movie came out – I was only eight years old – but I remember the cultural phenomenon that Star Wars became, from the moment those words appeared on the screen, and a starship soared over our heads. It seems, perhaps, a sign of the frivolous nature of our society that a science fiction movie can have become so ever present, ingrained even into our language.

But Star Wars, aside from being a marvel in special effects, arrived on the big screen in the wake of a terrible war, and a political scandal, and at the end of a decade where too many seemed to have lost direction. In that void the story of a hero and his disciples, and of an all-powerful, life-giving force equally inspired kids and their parents. Certainly, it continues to fire up the imagination of most of the 8-year-olds I know today – who can describe all the characters, even if they haven’t seen the movies.

This is the power of myth; it gives us a story around which to shape our belief system. Star Wars swirls into our myths because it contains the archetypes of our cultural beliefs – and in not-very-subtle ways – our religious faith. We have the boy hero, Luke Skywalker who must take on great responsibility, and lead a motley band of followers to shape a new world. We have the disciple, Han Solo, who comes to believe. We have sacrifice, and faith. Guiding it all, we have an unseen powerful force, in which the characters must choose freely to believe.

Doesn’t this sound familiar?

Sometimes, Christians might get a little frustrated – the images of the Bible, that first story of Jesus – are so often lifted into popular culture, that it might seem the message is being twisted and diluted. But in fact, the responsibility is ours – to make the link back, to use the myth as a way to build onto our understanding, to develop our relationship to the original truth upon which every story since has been built.

This is the lesson of Pentecost – the freeing message of this Sunday. In our first lesson, the disciples are all together, when suddenly a violent wind fills the entire house, and tongues of fire appear above each of their heads. “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” And the crowd that gathered became bewildered because they could understand the disciples as they spoke of the deeds of God in their own languages.

This lesson of Pentecost went unheard for many centuries in the Christian church, when the Bible was only printed and spoken in a language that most of the common people could not understand. But Martin Luther, of course, understood that God had always meant for the message to be heard in a way that people could hear it for themselves, to take it into their own hearts: and so the Bible was translated into German – and since then into just about every language on earth.

Pentecost teaches us that the message of God can be heard in many different ways, and from endless angles of life. One could even make the connection with a TV show like Jack Ryan or Liam’s favorite Bridgerton. We often make the mistake of confining that message of God to speech – but of course, the power of faith and belief reaches out from our art, and our music (except for Taylor Swift), our literature and our movies. The more times we find God in the images around us, the better, stronger and more complete becomes our relationship to God. Our most powerful myths inform our most primary truth.

This is our role as Christians – and our life’s assignment, to remember to look for God – and to be freed up enough to see God – beyond one hour a week when we come to church and God stands so clearly before us – in what we say, and sing, and in holy communion. It is what we need to do especially, when our faith begins to wander, and life throws us in so many directions that we forget where we are going and why.

For in the end, our myths, which inform our cultures, also serve as a mirror for each one of us: we want to see a bit of ourselves in Luke Skywalker. And taken one step further, the most fundamental, we need to know that Jesus resides in each one of us; as we are promised in the Gospel this morning, with the Holy Spirit: “You know him,” the gospel says, “because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”

This is my message to you on this day of your confirmation, Thomas, Delphine, Liam, Kaiden, and Elisabeth– a message we all need to remember. Look for God; and feel confident enough to see God in those untraditional spaces, where sometimes God may seem to speak to us most clearly, and with the most passion.

If you do this, I guarantee your life will be better. It may not always be easy but in those more challenging moments there will be a guiding force beyond your comprehension that loves you without reservation. Trust it. May that force be with you both. Amen

60 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page