Sunday, May 11, 2008


I know I've blogged before on the sermons of Lutheran pastor, The Rev. Dr. Barbara K. Lundblad who teaches at Union Theological Seminary in New York. I'm very, very impressed with her. Here's an excerpt from one of her Pentecost sermons:

Pentecost often ends too soon. The first part of the story is thrilling. The sound of a mighty wind. The tongues of fire. People from all over the Roman Empire hearing their own languages spoken by ordinary Galileans. The promise of the Spirit poured out on young and old, including slaves, both women and men. Pentecost means all of that. As the story goes on, Peter stands up to preach, and he preaches such a powerful sermon that over 3,000 people are baptized. Pentecost means all of that too. But Pentecost ends too soon if it has nothing to do with possessions, with wealth and poverty, with what we call economics. Economics is from the Greek word oikos, which means household. How do we live together in God's household? Well, I know economics is a subject so complicated that our eyes glaze over at the mention of the word. But God is very interested in economics, about what we do with our possessions and portfolios.

* A Pentecost church will reach out to people of every language and tongue.

* A Pentecost church will call young and old, women and men to prophesy.

* A Pentecost church will preach and baptize, but the story always ends too soon if a Pentecost church isn't concerned about economics.

A few years ago I talked with a friend of mine who's a pastor in New England. "How's your building program going?" I asked. "Oh, we ran out of money before we got to the worship space," she said. I thought to myself, "What could be more important than the worship space?" But I kept my thoughts to myself. "We renovated the basement," she said. "You know, we have a shelter there for homeless men. We put in new showers and renovated the old kitchen. The basement was so drab, and the showers-well, there was only one shower and it was lousy. On the Sunday before the shelter opened, the worship service began as usual in the sanctuary. When it came time for communion, the people carried the bread and the cup downstairs to the basement. The whole congregation gathered around the empty beds. They passed the bread and the cup around the circle. The body of Christ given for you. That night the shelter beds were full, and the worship space still needed a lot of work." The church calendar still said it was the first Sunday of Advent. But people in that congregation knew that Pentecost wasn't over. Pentecost shaped their life together, and it had everything to do with economics.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my. I didn't really engage with this until the part about why they renovated the basement. The part about the communion was lovely.


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