The Rev. Alwyn Hall served as a supply priest at St. Hilda St. Patrick. Fr. Alwyn attended the United Theological College of the West Indies and has been licensed to officiate in the diocese of Olympia since 2016. He has previously served as the associate priest at St. Elizabeth’s, Burien. The sermon for Sunday, June 5, was a response to the proper texts for Pentecost, Year C. It was based on the manuscript below.
Our spiritual ancestors have prepared the way for us by shaping our faith, our formation, and our foundation. They guide us and point us to Christ by passing on to us what they received. St. Philip is one of those fathers of the faith. We are the beneficiaries of his prayers, life, devotion, and faith. The story of Philip tells the story of humanity’s deepest longing and the one who will satisfy that deepest longing.
The words and images portrayed in today’s scripture, make us reflect deep into our hearts where the words of Philip echoes, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” John 14:15 Jesus said to Philip, “he who has seen me has seen the father. “If you love me keep my commandments and I will ask the father and he will give you another comforter (the satisfier) to be with you forever.” Pentecost is when the gift of the promised comforter to the church was fulfilled. V 26 When the spirit comes whom the father will send in my name, he will teach you everything and to remind you of all you were taught. We need an Advocate when the future is uncertain, afraid, overwhelmed or life is turned upside down, angry, or frustrated sad and grieving. Whether we are successful, self-sufficient, lost, and lonely, or having to fend for ourselves we need the advocate.
This longing for satisfaction is a universal desire of humanity and a desire of the church. Our longing is manifested in our restlessness, sense of emptiness, and our search for meaning and significance in our lives. We want to see Jesus, to be healed, to touch the helm of his garment, we want to stand in the presence of His holiness to behold Him and be satisfied.
How is true satisfaction found? People try to find true satisfaction, trying to become wealthy doing drugs, getting high on meth, partying, being intoxicated or gaining the world for themselves. The song writer wrote, “There are millions in this world who are carving the pleasures earthly things afford but none can match the wondrous treasure that I find in Jesus Christ my Lord.” True satisfaction is not about filling a void, or about acquisitions, accomplishments, or the fun things that we find to do. True satisfaction comes in the new life we experience in God where we become intoxicated by the H.S. goodness and love
As I pilgrimage, there are times, in my life, on the journey when I want to pull out my chair and sit God down, reason with him and have a man to God conversation. I have a couple questions to discuss. When I pray, I ask God, why me Lord? give me a reason, or show me a sign, bring on my miracle. Yes, and as I trace my life in retrospect there are times when I have been upon the mountain top and times I have been down in the valley. But praise be to God, I can check off moments when I have seen the Father, moments of blessings, and miracles that brought me satisfactions. When we see the Father, there is going to be deliverance, healing, wholeness, and completeness in our lives. When we experience the Lord, it is a moment of satisfaction, joy, restoration, and fulfilment. So, if you like Phillip is asking, “Show us the father and we shall be satisfied,” that moment is right here right now as the church gather and worship. Jesus said to Philip, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…. I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Jesus has and is, revealing the father to you. We are seeing the Lord in His word, sacrament, in one another, and through the power of the holy spirit given to his church on the day of Pentecost. Have you seen him in your everyday life experiences? Have you experienced his glory, grace, and power?
When you experience a tornado or a hurricane, the wind exerts unbelievable power, yet you cannot see it. The Hebrew word “Ruauh” meaning breath explicitly portrays the Holy Spirit carrying his renewing and life creating force. The tongues symbolize speech and the communication of the good news. The fire symbolizes God’s purifying presence. Throughout the bible we see this. The tongues of fire were the fulfilment of John the Baptist prophesy “I baptize you with water but the one who comes after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” Lk 3 :16. Joel prophesied that God would pour out the holy spirit on all flesh. Joel 2:28,29. In the wilderness God called Moses through fire of the burning bush. The pillar of fire guided and protected the Israelites in the wilderness. On Mount Sinai God confirmed the validity of the Old Testament law with fire from heaven. At Pentecost God confirmed the validity of the Holy Spirit’s ministry by sending tongues of fire on all believers. This demonstrates that God’s presence is available to all and like a fire it burns away the undesirable elements in our lives and sets our hearts ablaze to ignite the hearts and lives of others. The spirit, it is not only poured out on privilege flesh or the socially powerful but is available to you regardless of your race or social status.
What is you deepest longing? What, is your deepest desire? What is your moment of satisfaction? As we yearn for satisfaction in our lives let us remind ourselves that true satisfaction is not earned. It is freely given by Jesus Christ, bought, and paid for by the blood of the lamb. True satisfaction has been given to you. Reach out and see it, receive it, and learn it and embrace it. Let the sober drunkenness of Pentecost fills your lives as you become intoxicated by the H.S.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen