Sermon = The left hand of Pentecost (Psalm 104)

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Sermon = The left hand of Pentecost
Text = Psalm 104
Sunday = Pentecost Sunday (B)

Presentation_Psalm104_PentecostB_20180520 (PPTX)

  • *** How many are your works O Lord! in wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.
  • And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.
  • on the right hand the miracle of Pentecost
  • how the restored people of God will continue the work and ministry of Jesus
  • after the miracle of his ascension
  • how will we bear witness to the good news of the kingdom of God in Christ Jesus
  • how does this movement that begins so small spread so quickly
  • and bear witness to people of every tribe and culture and language?
  • that right there is an important miracle
  • that the gospel can be proclaimed in ways people who are different can understand and respond
  • today is feast of Pentecost
  • my favorite day of Christian calendar
  • when we commemorate and pray for grace to experience anew
  • fulfillment of what God promised
  • God is eternally Trinity
  • *** God the Holy Spirit exists eternally
  • yet comes in a new and surprising way
  • the people of God are filled with power
  • and we are like prophets
  • who act + speak with power
  • coming of God the Holy Spirit signifies God’s gift of spiritual life
  • on the left hand of Pentecost is Psalm 104
  • used on Pentecost since earliest years of the church
  • at first seems out of place
  • Feast of Pentecost about gift of Holy Spirit
  • focuses on Christian church
  • fulfillment of promise and prophecy
  • James Mays writes Psalm 104 pushes Pentecost to larger spheres of faith and reality

  • hymn of praise to God as creator
  • who made the world and provides for creatures who live in it
  • presents a vision of creation that is appropriate for people of God
  • does not set science against faith
  • but includes scientific + economic
  • invokes intellectual + emotional response
  • invites gratitude + wonder
  • begins and ends with bless the Lord O my soul
  • psalm as whole = summons to praise
  • in many ways this is dominant theme that holds Old Testament together
  • 3 parts
  • first = God is sovereign creator
    • *** creation not only make things exist
    • also bringing order out of chaos
    • the Lord is king
    • we see this is reliable consistency of the world
    • life in this world depends on benevolent rule of God
    • God is in charge
    • and he is good and loves his creations
  • second = emphasizes how God provides for his creatures
    • *** water + food + habitats + seasons
    • similar to Genesis 1
    • God creates resources for life
    • places for life
    • seasons for life
    • ecological understanding leads to wondering praise
    • knowledge of world + knowledge of God are not separate
    • but held together
    • gentle warning
    • to intervene in harmony of creation
    • is to disturb intricate divine ecology
    • yes human beings bear image of God
    • represent God within creation
    • responsible for managing creation with God + for God
    • we are one creature among many
    • that depend on God who provides what we need for life
    • to be what God created us to be
    • so yes we cut and build
    • we mine and manufacture
    • we grow and we hunt
    • be careful
    • pause and wonder
    • we too depend on God for life
  • third = Scripture for today
    • *** two key observations
    • amazement at variety of creatures
    • there are so many
    • yet the Lord made them all
    • even sea monsters (?)
    • Leviathan represents primordial chaos
    • that God tames + restrains
    • here is the ocean deep and wide
    • and Leviathan whom God formed to play in it
    • brings every living thing within one category
    • every created thing
    • from subatomic particles to planets stars and galaxies
    • all created things are the works of the Lord
    • why I love astronomy and animals
    • partly because of my theology of creation
    • world is not full of things
    • the universe is filled with creatures
    • nature is reason for praise
  • and everything depends on God for food + life
    • *** verses 29 + 30 have bothered me
    • God opens his hand + creatures are satisfied with the good
    • Gathers his breath + they return to dust
    • what???
    • key is verse 30
    • God sends his ruach = breath or Spirit
    • and they are created
    • by his Spirit he renews the face of creation
    • God creates and recreates by the Holy Spirit
    • life in the universe God has made is the Spirit of God at work
    • this is the left hand of Pentecost
    • *** Pentecost before Pentecost
    • Spirit of God present + active from beginning of time
    • Come Holy Spirit! God’s gift of new and spiritual life
    • Come again O Heavenly King! God’s gift of physical life
    • we need both
    • praise God for creation
    • we depend on God for spiritual and physical life
    • everything we see around us and above us and within us
    • are the works of the Lord
    • together with them we depend on God for nourishment + life
    • with them we are summoned to praise
    • are invited to wonder
    • Holy Spirit completes our life as creatures
    • brings us true existence for which we are created
    • we are the creation of God twice over
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About Rickwright67

I am the pastor of a Methodist church, spent 18 years ministering with internationals, as an adjunct taught Hebrew Bible and Biblical Hebrew, husband and dad, love astronomy, space exploration, science-fiction, computers, animals, cinema, and more.
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