The Upside Down Judge
First Lesson: Genesis 21: 8-21
Responsive Reading: Psalm 86: 1-10, 16-17
Second Lesson: Romans 6: 1-11
Matthew 10: 24-39
Grace and Peace from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
The following story is true even if a little bit unbelievable. Donald E. Miller was nowhere to be found. His wife didn’t know where he was. Sure Miller wasn’t exactly Mr. responsible, he was tens of thousands of dollars behind in child support and he let the bottle control his life more than a fellow should. One day though Donald E. Miller just vanished, as if he were dead. No phone calls, no letters, no signs whatsoever of Donald E. Miller. Miller’s wife Robin was at wit's end, so she asked if a judge would declare Donald E. Miller dead, so his children could collect Social Security.
The story of Donald E. Miller would seem to be over at this point, only it wasn’t. One day nearly twenty years later, Donald E. Miller returns to collect his Social Security and demand he is granted a driver’s license. Miller claimed to be merely “drifting” for the last twenty years. Miller was ordered to appear before a judge to have his death sentence reversed. The case would seem pretty simple. Donald E. Miller a “dead man” was now standing before a judge asking to be declared alive. The judge heard Miller’s case and grew quickly annoyed. Miller’s judge wasn’t going to tolerate Miller’s previous antics. The Judge denies Miller’s motion to be declared “alive.” Donald E. Miller earned the rare distinction of being a dead man walking around Ohio because of the antics of this upside down-judge.
Now as you picture, Donald E. Miller, I want to tell you the story of another seemingly dead man in the Apostle Paul. You see Paul wasn’t really physically dead; he was rather spiritually dead. Paul thought that he had God all figured out until he’s blinded on the Road to Damascus. Paul’s life is forever changed. He goes from being the Christian Church’s greatest critic to its greatest defender.
Paul’s conversion was not without controversy. Paul used to be a big rules guy, now with all the grace he’s preaching, people accuse him of preaching “anything goes.”
So Paul decides to set the record straight by writing a letter explaining all he believed. Paul writes this letter to the Church of Rome. The Book is called Romans. Our second lesson for Today comes from Romans the sixth chapter. Paul’s letter seeks to address the meaning of Baptism as it relates to his conversion:
“3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
What Paul is doing in this passage is making the point that similar to the judge in Donald E. Miller’s court case, Baptism is the giving of an upside down verdict, only, in this case, the dead are brought back from the grave.
Steve Jobs was raised a Lutheran before leaving the faith. Steve Jobs would go on to become arguably the greatest tech genius of the last century. One day in 2004, Steve Jobs received a devastating diagnosis- he had 3-6 months left to live because of his pancreatic cancer. Jobs had surgery that extends his life several years, yet these medical ordeals caused Steve Jobs to reflect quite a bit on the meaning of death.
Jobs described his ordeal as such in a famous 2005 commencement speech at Stanford:
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered …Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.”
Paul’s understanding of death in many ways mirrors Steve Jobs’. Impending death can change everything. When death is staring you down, all of the achievements before others begin to fade away. As Jobs describes, you can feel “naked” and “powerless.” You go looking for hope to cling. Baptism gives us this hope by joining us to Christ Jesus, so that we may one day receive life eternal.
Baptism is the great hope against seemingly being left for dead by God. A few years ago, there was a woman in the news named Laura Todd. Laura Todd was declared dead when someone typed her Social Security number into a computer by accident. Laura Todd one day finds out “no tax rebate” for her because you can’t write a check to a “dead woman.” Laura Todd is mad. Laura Todd would spend the next eight years of her life trying to get a judge to declare her to be alive.
We hear stories like Donald E. Miller and Laura Todd’s, we hear stories of unrelenting judges regardless of evidence and assume the system always works this way. Only what Paul is here to say in Romans 6 is “We are indeed judged differently.” “Our God sees our flaws and imperfections, our God chooses to wash them in water, and we are now clothed in Christ.
Paul had seen a verdict reversed in his own life. Paul didn’t choose conversion. Paul was blinded by God and experienced Resurrection. Paul understood that this way entirely God’s doing. Paul tied it into Baptism because Baptism is the means by which God creates faith in those who otherwise would never believe on our own.
I came across a preacher named Don Schultz who had a really good description of Baptism’s meaning when he said: “The moment you were baptized, you were linked to Jesus Christ, an invisible rope was tied between you and Jesus, and now you are connected to everything he did.” “Baptism is the act of signing a contract where you receive the terms of Christ’s death”.
Picture it this way. Imagine a Bride and Groom going to the altar. The Bride is the prettiest bride around. The Bride seems to be perfect in every way. The Bride is pretty, smart, and kind. The Bride is financially well-off and drives a brand new Cadillac. As for the Groom, he seems out of his league in the Bride’s presence. He’s a little rough around the edges with his words and action. The Groom might be losing his hair. The Groom might have a pot-belly, he’s in debt, and his car is the ugliest rusted out beater that you could ever imagine. The wedding day though changes everything. What was previously hers, would now belong to both of them. The Bride and Groom now have the Cadillac together. Picture the Groom driving the Cadillac, and now you understand what takes place in Baptism. Here’s what happens in Baptism: Jesus’ death and resurrection become our own. Your sin becomes washed away. In Baptism, the Bride-Groom Christ declares that we belong to each other every day moving forward.
Baptism is God’s way of saying the verdict will indeed soon be turned upside-down. Donald E. Miller would stomp his feet to everyone who would listen that he was indeed “alive,” yet the Judge had a different verdict in mind, regardless of all evidence. In much the same way, Baptism is God’s judgment on your behalf regardless of limiting factors such as age or even past behavior. The Apostle Paul seemed destined to be the Christian Church’s greatest enemy until our Lord on the Road to Damascus turned Paul’s life around. Similar to this, Baptism is God seeking to change our lives permanently. Steve Jobs when faced with death, realized that it changes everything. Death causes us to seek out answers outside all the powers we possess in this world. Baptism is that power. Laura Todd spent years trying to get her verdict of being declared “dead” reversed; our Lord got it done in “three days.” Pretty soon, rusted old beater cars might even magically turn into Cadillacs. Amen
 Seitz, Rev. Dr. Gregory. “Are You Qualified.” The Lutheran Hour. 11. Jan.2015. Web. June.20.2017. Dr. Seitz’s sermon was presented on the Lutheran Hour Radio Program, I’m drawing from text copy.
 Phillips Erb, Kelly. “ Judge Orders Man to Stay Dead Despite His Insistence He’s Alive, Could You Be Next?” Forbes. 12. Oct. 2013. Web. June.20.2017.
 Acts 9:1-19
 Romans 6:1-11.
 Romans 6:3-5.
 Stories for Preaching. “Steve Jobs on Death.” Stories for Preaching. Web. June.20.2017.
 Stories for Preaching. “Steve Jobs on Death.”
 Seitz, Rev. Dr. Gregory. “Are You Qualified.”
 Phillips Erb, Kelly. “ Judge Orders Man to Stay Dead Despite His Insistence He’s Alive, Could You Be Next?”
 Schultz, Don. “Dead to Sin, Alive to God.” Sermon Central. 27.June.2002. Web. June.20.2017
 Schultz, Don. “Dead to Sin, Alive to God.”.
 Seitz, Rev. Dr. Gregory. “Are You Qualified.”
 This analogy belongs to Timothy Wengert of the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia. I heard it from Dr. Wengert in a video many years back.
First Lesson: Genesis 18: 1-15 (21: 1-7)
Responsive Reading: Psalm 116: 1-2, 12-19
Second Lesson: Romans 5: 1-8
Matthew 9: 35- 10: 8 (9-23)
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” - Romans 5:3-4.
Jose Luis Martin Descalzo tells the following story. Anne was an elderly widow. Anne had been a widow most of her life, Anne’s husband Frank died at war four months after their wedding day. Anne doesn’t have much left for her life with Frank other than a fading photo, and a pension of one hundred dollars a month. Anne had been surviving on this sum of money year after year. One time, Anne receives Frank’s pension in the form of a one-hundred dollar bill. Anne is excited rarely seeing such money up close, Anne felt like for just a few moments like she had won the lottery. Anne stared at the one hundred dollar bill but quickly grew nervous. “What if I lost it?” The next morning, Anne’s worst fears become realized. Anne goes to buy some vegetables at the local market after mass, where her hundred dollar bill is nowhere to be found. Anne did what we would do if we lost something. Anne re-walked her route to mass and the market. Anne combed her house inside and out. Anne still could not find the one-hundred dollar bill. Anne was so desperate that she went back to the church combed the pews; she then searched every couch cushion within her home. Anne was still broke. Anne had no idea, how she was going to live these next thirty days without her hundred dollar bill. Anne had little to sell, except for family heirlooms. Anne’s head hung low for the rest of the day. The next morning, everyone Anne saw seemed to be a suspect: the widow down the hall, the two rowdy girls who lived upstairs, the communist butcher downstairs, and Fred who in Anne’s mind was probably cheating on his wife at the end of the hall. Anne was quick on this day to find suspects for her missing $100 bill. What happened to Anne, we will get back to her story in a little bit.
Today’s Second Lesson comes to us from Romans 5. The Apostle Paul is the author of Romans. Paul started off in this world with seemingly everything. Paul had grown up in a household that was both well off and devoutly religious. Paul was educated at a top-notch school. Paul seemed like he was destined for all sorts of great things in this world until he converts to Christianity. Paul’s life then seemingly began to fall apart. Paul had family disown him; Paul had friends leave his life. Paul ended up shipwrecked. Paul was arrested and beaten for his confession of faith. Paul’s story in many ways was not rags to riches, but rather seemingly riches to rags.
How did Paul keep going with all this going on his life? Paul continually looked forward.
Yesterday, Grandma’s Marathon took place down in Duluth. 26.2 miles. I’ve got a friend named Josh. Josh was a good athlete in high school. He was all-conference in hockey and a good cross country runner. Josh one time decides to run the Chicago Marathon. Josh would seem to be the perfect candidate to do so, he was lean, fit, and had been running for years. Marathon day takes place, it didn’t matter how fit Josh was miles 20, 22, and 24 were going to brutal like nothing he had ever done. Josh described it as such “You can never prepare for those miles.” You need to keep looking ahead towards the finish line. The finish line is a marathon’s runner hope that it will all be worth it.
Paul’s approach to his suffering was different than many peoples. Paul wasn’t going to look for the easy way out a new job, a new place to live, or a new wife. Paul instead saw his suffering as pointing to hope that was to come.
When I was at Luther Seminary, I had a classmate named Brian. Brian had cerebral palsy. Brian didn’t look like the rest of his classmates. Every step around campus was a struggle for Brian. Speaking wasn’t always easy for Brian because of his ailment. The thing about Brian though was when he did speak he had a conviction and passion about his faith that I saw in no one else. Brian was evidence that God can bring good out of what might appear to be the most hopeless of our situations.
For the reality is we will never be able to control the world around us.
Jackie Robinson began his Major League Baseball career in 1947. Roy Campanella began his career in 1948. Campanella quickly became one of the best players in Baseball. Campanella was an eight-time all-star, three-time league MVP, and a World Series Champ. One night in January 1958, Campanella’s life would change forever. Driving home, Campanella hit a patch of ice, skidded into a telephone poll, the car flipped, and Campanella’s life was seemingly over with a broken neck. Campanella like all people would was struggling with the meaning of this event. One day at physical therapy, he saw a plaque upon the wall which spoke to him.
The plaque read the following:
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn to humbly obey…
I asked for health that I might do great things.
I was given infirmity that might do better things…
I asked for riches that I might be happy,
I was given poverty that I might be wise…
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of others.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God…
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things…
I got nothing I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among men, most richly blessed!"
Roy Campanella spent the rest of his life confined to a wheelchair, yet Roy Campanella continually was able to cling to hope not found in the present, but rather in what would lie ahead. Paul’s point for this morning is that endurance in tough times is never easy. Paul says we cling to hope because “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Christ clings to us regardless of our achievement. Our Lord promises to come through in the end, regardless of what we see on this day.
Florence Chadwick was famous for being the first woman to swim the English Channel in 1950. Chadwick’s next big goal was to swim 21 miles between Catalina Island and California. No one had ever done this swim before. Chadwick set out on July 4th, 1952. Chadwick’s swim was a nationally televised event. Chadwick’s swim was not easy. Several times during it rifles in support ships had to be blasted to fend off circling sharks. Sixteen hours into her swim, Chadwick couldn’t see the shore. The fog had blinded her. Chadwick was numb and declared that she could not go on. Florence Chadwick was ½ mile from the shore. Chadwick afterward could only say “If only I could have seen land, I know I could have made it.”
Chadwick’s statement expresses how we often feel as Christian people; we need proof of God’s active intervention in the world so that we can keep pressing forward in the face of all obstacles. What Paul is saying to us today is our proof that land lies ahead is the Cross even while we still sinners. Paul says our land is not our own goodness, but rather the promises of Christ’s forgiveness given unto us. So that when life knocks us down as in the case of the Apostle Paul, we know that will not stay down forever.
What ended up happening to Florence Chadwick, two weeks later she set out to swim Catalina to California again, she swam it faster than anyone ever had before.
The message of our lesson for Today is this. Hope can be found in unlikely places. Whatever happened to Anne who had lost her hundred dollar bill. Anne stewed about her apartment angry at how the world had wronged her. Finally, Anne hears a ring of the doorbell. As Anne approaches the doorbell carrying a prayer book she slips and out of the prayer book falls a one-hundred dollar bill. Anne quickly came to realize that all her suffering and anger, had been her fault.
Anne’s day though was not over. A knock came at her door. It was the widow from down the hall; she had found a hundred dollar bill on the stairwell that must have belonged to Anne. Next came the two rowdy girls from upstairs, they had also found a hundred dollars on the stairwell that must have belonged to Anne, next came the Butcher then Fred then neighbor after neighbor, all had found Anne’s money. Within a day, Anne’s whole perspective on the world had changed. The story that Anne had about the world around her was wrong. Hope had come from out of the hopeless. Resurrection in Anne’s life had seemingly come from the grave.
The point for this morning is this. We will times when our situation might seem hopeless; Paul certainly could have felt this way sitting in a prison cell. There might be times when we feel like life has us running in the 18th, or 20th mile with the marathon finish line never to come. Yet, it is in these times of seemingly hopeless diagnoses like those given to Brian and Roy Campanella that we see God’s blessings unfolding in unexpected ways. Rest assured as in the case of Florence Chadwick; the shore is closer than you might think. Once you get to shore, you might even find a missing one-hundred dollar bill. Amen
 Martin Descalzo’s story comes from his book Reasons for Hope found on pages 1-4. The following story was found on Leon Stier’s Email Mediatations website on June 12th, 2017.
 Romans 5:1-8.
 Molin, Steven. “Road to Character” Sermon Writer. 2002. Web. June.12th.2017.
 Molin uses similar analogy in “Road to Character’ sermon.
 A similar analogy can be found in Ed Markquart’s sermon “Suffering produces Endurance, Character, and Hope.” Found on the Sermons from Seattle website (Series A) on June 12th, 2017.
 “Roy Campanella.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 7th. May. 2017. Web. June 12th.2017.
 Stories for Preaching. “Roy Campanella”. Web. June 12th, 2017.
 Romans 5:6.
 “Florence Chadwick.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 16.Feb.2017. Web. June.13.2017.
 Llewellyn, Tony. “Sermon Illustrations: Hope”. Hot Sermons. Web. June.13th.2017.
 Romans 5:8.
 Llewellyn, Tony. “Sermon Illustrations: Hope”.
 Stier, Leon. “Suscipious.” Email Mediations. 3.June. 2017. Web. June.12.2017.
 Stier, Leon. “Suscipious.”
First Lesson: Genesis 1: 1 - 2:4
Responsive Reading: Psalm 8
Second Lesson: 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 28: 16-20
Grace and Peace from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
This morning, I want to address the following question “Why Baptism?” or “What difference does Baptism make to Killian’s life?”
Before addressing this question, let me begin with a story. I have a friend that I’ll call Mike. When I first met Mike, he would walk around with a perpetually angry look on his face. Those around him knew Mike for having a temper that could explode like a volcano at any time. Mike would often go looking for people with whom to argue. Mike liked to live hard; no Friday night was too intense for Mike. Mike eventually meets a girl named Melissa. Melissa was Mike’s opposite in seemingly every way. Melissa was positive and bubbly. When Mike first started dating Melissa, he wanted to keep it a secret. Mike didn’t want people to think he had gone soft with a girl like Melissa. Overtime, Melissa began to change Mike. Mike began to become more self-controlled and patient. Mike saw more of a purpose for his life than just being the wildest guy around. Mike would tell everyone who listened how crazy that he was about Melissa. Today, Mike and Melissa are married with a young child like Killian. Mike works for Hospice comforting the dying. I would have never believed this when I met Mike a decade ago.
What Mike and Melissa’s story reminds us is “How love can change people.” When I first met Mike, I could never imagine him rolling on the ground playing with a child or singing a silly song. Not Mike with his perpetual scowl. Little ones without even knowing it, have the potential to change a parent’s whole outlook on the world.
Parenthood never promises to be easy. We might wait for life to come into the world, but very soon sleepless nights tend to be a burden. The years ahead will probably bring squabbles with parents, nasty words, and a child whose behavior has the continual potential to improve.
So back to the question of “Why Baptism?” Baptism reminds us of how we come into this world, weak and dependent on our parents for seemingly every need. Baptism points to the nature of our relationship with the one whom we celebrate on this Trinity Sunday who created the Heavens and the Earth. Baptism reminds us how as we gather here today that every breath we have in this world is a gift from God. Baptism is God declaring in spite of life’s troubles that “My grace and mercy are sufficient for you.”
In our Gospel lesson for Today, Jesus gives a final command to the Disciples before leaving this world. Jesus’ command is to baptize everyone they encounter both old and young alike in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”. Jesus did this for the sake of proclaiming this good news given to Killian on this day.
Baptism points us to the great message of the scriptures. The scriptures contain their share of conflicts: between family members and nearly everyone and God. The whole of the Christian Scriptures we can understand as such: “No matter where life takes you, no matter what storms come your way, even unto death itself, our God does not abandon his people.
The words of Isaiah printed on the Baptismal banner drive home this message: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name; you are mine… For I am the Lord your God… You are precious and honored in my sight.”
Pastor Leon Stier says it best “What every child needs most of all is at least two people who are just crazy about them. “ There are no guarantees in any of this, but that kind of love will go a long way. For a child to thrive in the world.
When Killian was first born, he could not speak anyone’s name. Even though Killian could not call out “Mom” or “Dad,” Killian remains Holly and Dane’s son forever. Baptism is God’s way of declaring Killian to be his child. Baptism is God to saying to Killian; you are part of my family forever.
Killian’s family gets bigger on this day. Killian’s family now not only includes the members of Sychar Lutheran Church, but he joins all Baptized Christians around the world. The Christian family that Killian joins Today comes from all walks of life. He joins people baptized nearly 100 years ago, he joins people with Alzheimers’ disease, and people who have lost the ability to speak for themselves. Baptism reminds us that it is God’s grace which sustains us regardless of our capabilities. Baptism serves a proclamation of God’s commitment to us all the days of our life.
Many years from now, Killian will be on his way out of this world. At this time, the promises of his baptism will still ring true.
Last weekend was commencement at William Kelley. Thirty-some graduates from all different walks of life marched across the stage no matter what differences came before them; they would forever be known as the Class of 2017 at William Kelley. No one can ever take this away from them. No matter how far away from Silver Bay each of these graduates may journey. In much the same way Killian receives a promise on this day that takes him beyond the grave itself into all eternity. Killian here’s God voice coming down from the sky and declaring “You are my beloved.”
In just a few minutes, we will sign the Baptismal hymn “Borning Cry.” The hymn points to God’s promises to be with us from the time of our birth throughout the end of one’s life. Borning Cry ends with the powerful promise “When the evening closes in, and you shut your weary eyes, I’ll be there as I have always been, with just one more surprise.” It is this promise of Baptism belonging to Killian on this day which says “The Christian hope shall never leave those who believe.” Resurrection is more powerful than the grave. Jesus says to Killian on this day, “Through water, I have made you a member of my family forever.” Amen
 The following sermon is heavily influenced by Pastor Leon Stier’s “Sermon at My Grandson’s Baptism”. The sermon is found on Pastor Stier’s website Email Mediatations posted in part a (Sept.10.2015) and part b (Sept.11.2015).
 Stier, Leon. ‘Sermon at My Grandson’s Baptism(a).” Email Mediatations. 10.Sept.2015. Web. June.5.2017.
 Stier, Leon. ‘Sermon at My Grandson’s Baptism(a).
 2 Corinthians 12:9.
 Stier, Pastor Leon. “Sermon at My Grandson’s Baptism(b) Email Mediatations. 11.Sept.2015. Web. June.5.2017.
 Isaiah 43:1b, 3a.4a.
 Stier, Pastor Leon. “Sermon at My Grandson’s Baptism(b).”.
 Matthew 3:17.
 Stier, Pastor Leon. “Sermon at My Grandson’s Baptism(b).”
First Lesson: Acts 2: 1-21
Responsive Reading: Psalm 104: 24-34, 35b
Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 12: 3b-13
Gospel Lesson: John 20: 19-23
Grace and Peace from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Linus is mad! Lucy has stolen Linus’ book yet again. Linus wasn’t going to take it anymore. So Linus marched up to his mother to ask “Why can’t I slug Lucy?” Linus’ mother thinks about the question; Lucy had gotten on her nerves a time or two, she understood Linus’ anger quite well, but realized that good boys like Linus don’t hit Lucy back so she said “That’s just one of those things I can’t explain.” Linus walks away in a huff, finally encountering Lucy yet again. Linus wants to stand his ground, so he tells Lucy “Take my book again, you’ll be sorry.” Lucy’s response is simple and direct: “If you slug me, I’ll slug you right back.” Linus finally understood what his mom had said to him earlier. Lucy in her bluntness had made Mom’s words understandable.
Now as you think of the story of Linus and Lucy, I want you to think of another seemingly unrelated question: “What does the Holy Spirit do?” If God the Father created the world, Jesus Christ saved the world, what then is the Holy Spirit’s job, and what does it have to do with Linus and Lucy? We’ll get back to this question in a just little bit.
Today’s lesson from Acts 2 beginning to answer the question of the exact nature of the Holy Spirit’s activity. Let me give a little background. Fifty days after the Jewish Passover was a harvest festival called Pentecost. So in the year of Jesus’ death and resurrection, one week after Jesus’ ascension, Jews from all over the Roman Empire would make their way to Jerusalem. They came from the south in Egypt, the north in Rome, and the west Arabia even some journeyed from Asia.
Also at Pentecost this year was Peter and the rest of Jesus’ disciples. Now here’s the thing to know. Peter was not held in high regard among the people of Jerusalem. Fifty days ago, Peter denied even knowing Jesus out of fear. Now silly Christians like Peter were going around proclaiming “Jesus to be risen!” Now Peter wanted to preach, but very few people wanted to listen. Peter’s tale seemed too far-fetched. Deep down inside, Peter probably feared another mob forming like had arrested Jesus fifty days earlier. Then something happened!
Once upon a time, there were two bears a Mommy and Baby Bear. Baby Bear loved Mommy Bear because of her continual love and care of him. One day everything would change for Baby Bear. Mommy Bear died in the accident. Baby Bear was now all alone in the forest. Baby Bear looked to be unable to survive on his own. One day, Baby Bear’s story seemed certain to end. Baby Bear was minding his own business when a mountain lion spotted him. Baby Bear looked to be a delicious meal for the mountain lion. Baby Bear started to run for his life. Baby Bear was small with weak little legs and no way able to escape from the mountain lion. Baby Bear is soon trapped down at the river. Baby Bear figures he’s a goner. Baby Bear tried to scare the mountain lion off by making noise, but being a baby could only manage a weak, squeaky voice. Just as the mountain lion gets ready to lunge, Baby Bear opens his mouth only then this time he roars, the loudest roar you’ve ever heard, the trees are shaking as Baby Bear is roaring. The mountain lion begins to back away. The mountain lion then begins running for his life terrified by the sound of Baby Bear’s roar. You see Baby Bear wasn’t alone down by the river. Watching him on this day was the biggest, most ferocious Daddy Bear you can ever imagine. With Daddy Bear around, Baby Bear was more powerful than even Baby Bear thought possible.
So what happened on the day of Pentecost, Peter and the Disciples were sitting in a house. They were thinking of how they could proclaim “Resurrection.” Yet the odds seemed as long as Baby Bear versus the mountain lion that people would listen. A force was watching over them that would soon change everything. As Peter and the Disciples were gathering a violent wind fills the sky. The wind is so powerful that people from all over Jerseleum begin to head in the direction of the wind. Pretty soon all sorts of people gather around Peter and the Disciples. What those gathered on the day of Pentecost heard was downright shocking. Peter and the Disciples primarily spoke Aramaic. Aramaic was the language of Galilee from where they came. Peter and the Disciples were now speaking in the native tongues of people from all over the world. Arabians, Egyptians, and Asians were all amazed. They were curious to listen to Peter at this point. Not everyone was impressed as some skeptics scoffed claiming These” men are filled with new wine .“ The critics though would not define this day. Peter then began to preach, probably in Greek which would have had a universal familiarity.
Peter’s preaching is effective. Peter’s preaching is efficient way beyond the eloquence of his words. Three-thousands new Christians are made on the Day of Pentecost.
So what can we as Christian people take from the story of Pentecost? Earlier, I told the story of Linus, his mother, and Lucy. Linus couldn’t quite figure out “the why” of striking back at Lucy. Linus needed a voice to make the unclear into clear. Linus needed a voice to sort his way out of the “fog” which afflicted him. Linus needed someone to put things into a language he could understand. What the Holy Spirit brings to the Christian faith is clarity. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes preaching the Gospel effective. The Holy Spirit is the one who sustains our faith in the waters of baptism and the administration of the Lord’s Supper when we seemingly have every reason to abandon it. The Holy Spirit is the force which took Peter from a scared/ineffective communicator fifty days prior into a bold champion of the Christian faith. The Holy Spirit gave Peter and the rest of the Disciples the Daddy Bear roar.
How does the Holy Spirit work? Let me close with one story to bring the message home. Once upon a time, a young boy of around six years old had taken an interest in playing the piano. His mother wishing to encourage him wanted to take him to a concert of a master pianist. The pianist was world renowned, and she figured her son seeing the master pianist could inspire his playing. Thousands of people were going to this concert.
The boy and the mother went to the concert hall and appeared to get settled in their seats. The mother gets up to greet one of her friends. The boy bored waiting for the concert to start, decides to wander off in the concert hall. The boy finally sees a door marked as clear as day “No Admittance.”
The mother turns around, sees her boy nowhere to be found. She gets nervous, the lights begin to dim, and suddenly the curtains part. Out on stage walks the little boy approaching a Steinway Grand Piano.
The mother is mortified as she sees her son approach the keyboard. She feared never being able to show her face again once they found out to whom this boy belonged. They boy approaches the piano then begins to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” The audience is confused. They figure this concert to be a waste of money. Right at this moment walking onto the stage is the master pianist. He marches up to the piano whispers in the boy’s ear “Don’t quit, keep playing.”
The pianist reaches over the boy with his left hand begins playing a bass part. Soon after this, the other hand begins to play. Pretty soon, the piano master and the six-year-old boy are playing one of the most beautiful duets that people in the concert hall had ever heard. No different than Peter had gone from being out of his element into a bold witness for the Christian faith. Pretty soon, three-thousand people would have their lives unexpected changed. On this day, the Christian Church celebrates its birth. On this day, we celebrate our hope. On this day of Pentecost, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Amen
 Schneider, Matt. “A New Pentecost, or Maybe Just a Rhetorical Revival, According to Peanuts.” MBird (Mockingbird Ministries). 17.May.2013. Web. May.28.2017. Article is based on Robert L. Short’s book The Gospel According to Peanuts(p.7).
 Schneider, Matt. “A New Pentecost, or Maybe Just a Rhetorical Revival, According to Peanuts
 Acts 2:1-21.
 Stier, Leon. “The Tower of Babel and Pentecost.” Email Meditations. 24. May.2015. Web. May.28.2017.
 The following analogy was taken from The Hot Sermons website on May.28.2017. The analogy comes from a called The Bear.
 Acts 2:13.
 Zingale, Tim. “Pentecost.” Sermon Central. 08.June.2002. Web. May.28.2017.
 Zingale, Tim. “Pentecost.”.
 Zingale, Tim. “Pentecost.”
 Zingale, Tim. “Pentecost.”
 Zingale, Tim. “Pentecost.”