The Spirit of Peace

Randall Tremba
May 27, 2012
Pentecost Sunday
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church

Acts 2:1-21
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

* * *

Pentecost just keeps happening. Maybe you can hear the mighty wind rattling locked doors, giving breath to hope, giving breath to cries for justice, giving breath to songs of peace. People filled with the spirit of peace are crying out in every tongue, in every language and in every place: Let there be peace.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Every country has one. We remember the wars. We remember the dead. We remember the prayers for healing and for peace.

Come, Spirit, come. Let us make a new covenant, a covenant to make peace and not war. Let justice roll, let mercy fill the earth. Let us learn how to forgive. Come, Spirit, come.

What we call Pentecost was but a glimpse of the promise and possibilities within the human heart. People will not cower behind lock doors forever. People will stand up and speak out for peace and justice.

And people will listen.

Pentecost is not just about speaking out. It’s about understanding one another. It’s about hearing voices long silenced.

Let us be one. Let us be whole. Come, Spirit, come. Let there be peace.

Yes, empires still crush and crucify the innocent. But people will not be intimidated or silenced forever. People will not accept violence as a way of life. People are standing up, speaking out, texting and tweeting like mad.

It seems the whole world is groaning. How long, O Lord, how long? How long will racism, tribalism, sexism, homophobia, greed and violence rule the world? How long, O Lord? How long will prisoners sit in darkness? Who will set the captives free?

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now.  And not only creation, but we groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.(Romans 8:22-27)

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. We remember the wars. We remember the dead. We remember the prayers for healing and for peace.

It seems the whole world is groaning under the weight of war, injustice and violence, violence against ourselves, violence against others, violence against the earth. In every land people groan with creation for the redemption of the earth and all her creatures.

Let us be one. Let us be whole. Let us be holy. Come, Spirit, come.

Pentecost just keeps happening. Maybe you can hear what Ezekiel heard when he stood in a valley, a valley filled with dry bones—not unlike the dry bones buried along the roads that leads to Baghdad.

The hand of the LORD came upon me, and brought me out by the spirit and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones and they were very dry. A voice spoke: "Mortal One, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord GOD, you know."

"Then speak up and speak out to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you up from your graves. O my people, I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil.”(Ezekiel 37:1-14)

Still, today we see dry and lifeless bones. Still so many lonely hearts, so many broken lives, longing for love to break into their darkness. Longing for a break. Longing to get their heads above water. Longing to breathe again. Longing to walk out of graves of one sort or another and stand again upon the earth with heads held high.

Pentecost keeps happening. Time and time again the spirit of peace renews the face of the earth, renews discouraged communities and dejected nations, renews a dispirited church, and revitalizes a depressed soul. Maybe, just maybe your own heart is feeling the spirit’s warmth right now.

Today is Pentecost. Today we celebrate the spirit, not as some religious doctrine but as an experience. No religious tradition has a monopoly on the spirit. The spirit is what we have in common. And in case you hadn’t noticed, here, there and everywhere, a spark sparkles in human consciousness about to catch fire all around the world.

Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.(Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

The Spirit is like wind—there even though we can’t see it. The Spirit is like our breath—that close. And the Spirit is like fire—transforming matter into energy and transforming the fearful into big, bold lovers.

Come, Spirit, come. Let there be peace. Let us be one. Hold us together in your warm embrace.