Day of Pentecost Year C

The Day of Pentecost is when Christians commemorate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus when they were in Jerusalem, along with devout Jews from many countries who were in the city celebrating the Feast of Weeks (Acts 2:1-31).

In spite of the many different nationalities and languages present, there was no problem with communications that day – except maybe confusion over the source (Acts 2:13-18)) of the astonishing communication taking place.

If you would like to read the scriptures for Pentecost Sunday again -- or if you did not have the opportunity to hear or read the passages on Sunday -- click here (no opt-in required).

And here is a brief video (under 2 minutes) with selected scriptures and accompanying artwork.

The Season after Pentecost – often called “Ordinary Time” -- lasts from the Monday after Pentecost Sunday until the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent. The first Sunday of this season is Trinity Sunday, and the last one is Reign of Christ Sunday.

The season's basic liturgical color is green, symbolizing growth in Christ.
The Gospel readings for these Sundays cover Jesus' teaching ministry.

And the Spirit will bring to our minds, hearts and hands all that Jesus taught (John 14:26) about:

  • Living the abundant life (John 10:10),
  • Loving God and neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40; Luke 10:25-37) and
  • Serving others (Mark 10:43-45; John 13:3-5,12-18).

With the Spirit's empowerment -- this Season after Pentecost -- this “ordinary time” can be extra-ordinary in acts of love and servant-leadership.

My prayer for you is that you may in these coming days experience a fresh gust of God’s Spirit.

And with my namesake, I am praying that God will create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me – a willing, generous spirit of love. (Psalm 51:10-12)

“Lord, hear our prayer.”

David Best 

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I Just Want to Do God’s Will: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Last Sermon

Martin Luther King, Jr. at Mason Temple Memphis TN

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his last sermon on Wednesday evening, April 3, 1968, 54 years ago at Mason Temple Church of God in Christ headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee.

There were tornado warnings that afternoon, and heavy, spring rain fell on the city that night. But people filled Mason Temple to hear Dr. King.

He was in Memphis to support the sanitation workers' strike for higher wages overtime pay, and safety measures among other demands.

A local pastor, The Rev. James Lawson, had been working since early in the year with the leaders in Memphis on the organizing efforts for the sanitation workers.

Lawson said, "...at the heart of racism is the idea that a man is not a man, that a person is not a person. You are human beings. You are men. You deserve dignity." Lawson's comments were echoed in the iconic placards from the sanitation workers' strike, "I Am A Man".

On March 28, The Rev. Lawson was joined by Dr. King to lead strikers in a march that began peacefully but was called off by Lawson and King after violence erupted. Dr. King denounced the violence that evening.

To reinforce his commitment to nonviolence and renounce the violence that occurred on March 28, Dr. King returned to Memphis on April 3 and in his message that night proclaimed, “We aren't engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people. We are saying -- We are saying that we are God's children. And that we are God's children, we don't have to live like we are forced to live.”

He explained,

"The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers”

But after the violent demonstration on March 28, Mayor Loeb was seeking a court injunction to stop another march planned for April 5.

In response, Dr. King in his sermon on the 3rd announced that the following morning they were going to fight “this illegal, unconstitutional injunction.”

He continued: “All we say to America is ‘Be true to what you said on paper.’” He noted that he could maybe understand such illegal injunctions if he lived in China or Russia or any totalitarian county. But, he preached on...

"Somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right."

Dr. King ended his sermon that night. . .

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I'm happy, tonight.
I'm not worried about anything.
I'm not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!

+++
Only a few hours later, at 6:01 pm on April 4, 1968, a metal-jacketed bullet from a high-velocity rifle tore into the face of Martin Luther King, Jr. The preacher and peaceful warrior for love and human rights was pronounced dead at 7:05 pm.

But if we choose to listen - and if we have ears to hear -- his voice still calls us to the higher ground of who we can be as God’s children in a beloved community.

Sources
Memphis Sanitation Strike
Sanitation Workers Strike in Memphis
Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

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Earth Hour: Let’s Shape Our Future

Let's Shape Our Future: Earth Hour 2022

Earth Hour was created by the World Wide Fund for Nature (W.W.F.) and is held annually, on the last Saturday of March.

The goal is to encourage individuals, communities, and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights / electronics, for one hour, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., as a commitment to the earth’s health.

EarthHour.org’s invitation:

 “Let’s come together to take care of each other and the one home we all share.”

 

  • Switch off all non-essential appliances, devices and lights for an hour from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.
  • Eat a meat-free meal by candlelight
  • Download the My Footprint app.
  • Go look at and enjoy the night sky.
  • Take an evening walk with your family or a friend.
  • Share Earth Hour with your circle of influence and social networks.

Resources

Earth Hour
My Footprint app
Night Sky, March 2022

Earth Hour 2022

 

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St. Patrick’s Day – A Hymn

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

Holy Spirit Descending on St Patrick

Holy Spirit Descending Upon St. Patrick
Andreas F. Borchert, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons

This Christian hymn was traditionally attributed to St. Patrick during his ministry in Ireland in the 5th century, but most believe it was written later in 8th century.  In any case it reflects Patrick's faith.  Note: In some versions, "I bind" is translated "I arise."  The word "virtue" can also be rendered "strength."

I bind myself today to a strong virtue, an invocation of the Trinity.
I believe in a Threeness, with confession of an Oneness in the Creator of the Universe.

I bind myself today to the virtue of Christ's birth with his baptism,
to the virtue of his crucifixion with his burial,
to the virtue of his resurrection with his ascension,
to the virtue of his coming to the Judgment of Doom.

I bind myself today to the virtue of ranks of Cherubim,
in obedience of Angels,
[in service of Archangels]
in hope of resurrection for reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs,
in preaching of Apostles,
in faiths of Confessors,
in innocence of Holy Virgins,
in deeds of righteous men.

I bind myself today to the virtue of Heaven,
In light of Sun,
In brightness of Snow
In splendour of Fire,
In speed of Lightning,
In swiftness of Wind,
In depth of Sea,
In stability of Earth,
In compactness of Rock.

I bind myself today to God's Virtue to pilot me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's Word to speak to me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to secure me,
Against snares of demons,
Against seductions of vices,
Against lusts of nature,
Against every one who wishes ill to me,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in a multitude.

So have I invoked all these virtues between me, and these
against every cruel, merciless power which may come against my body and my soul
against incantations of false prophets,
against black laws of heathenry,
against false laws of heretics,
against craft of idolatry,
against spells of women and smiths and druids,
against every knowledge that defiles men's souls.

Christ to protect me today,
Against poison, against burning, against drowning, against death-wound,
Until a multitude of rewards come to me!

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me!
Christ below me, Christ above me.
Christ at my right, Christ at my left!
Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height!

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me

I bind myself today to a strong virtue, an invocation of the Trinity.
I believe in a Threeness with confession of a Oneness, in the Creator.
Salvation is the Lord's, salvation is the Lord's, salvation is Christ's
May Thy salvation, O Lord, be always with us.

Here is the prayer as sung by Angelina that we found courtesy of The Rev. James Richardson.

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Young Women Leaders: Skills for Fulfilling Aspirations

Young women leaders - Young girl with open book

How do young women leaders see themselves and their futures?

A student-designed survey from an innovative high school came up with some intriguing revelations.

Compared with high school boys, high school girls were significantly more likely to see themselves as leaders, were just as likely to say they would run for U.S. president, and had higher college aspirations than their boy counterparts.

The national, online survey of over 1,500 teens, designed by Miss Hall's School an all-girl high school, also found that more than 70 percent of girls versus 50 percent of boys desire a job where they can help others and make the world a better place. Jeannie Norris, Head of School at the time of the study said, "Teen women are rejecting the old-style, top-down models of leadership and are embracing a new style, one that utilizes teamwork to solve problems."

A significant finding of the study, however, pointed to a "leadership gap." In responding to real-life leadership dilemmas, girls do not always follow through on what they know to be best when friendships are involved. For example, a girl might not vote for the better candidate in an election if her best friend is running in opposition. Inhibiting girls' decision-making is the priority they give to personal relationships.

One of the major implications of the study was that girls need to be taught the skills that allow them to work through challenges while staying in relationships with peers.

Historically, girls' high aspirations for leadership in high school do not translate into significant increases in the numbers of women in the top echelon in any sector. Norris said,

"In order for young women to sustain their ability to lead beyond high school and into their adult lives, they must become comfortable with assuming authority and resolving interpersonal conflicts in a way that holds true to their values."

And in addition to these skills, young women leaders must prepare to persist in the face of structural barriers and bias that still exists.

Another significant finding was that girls who are comfortable with their personal authority-i.e., girls who self-identify as leaders-are more likely to act on their values. Norris noted, "Girls who have the inner confidence to claim that they are leaders seem to be freer to do what they know is right." Self-identified leaders also tend to do better in school, bring an activist approach to problem-solving, and hold higher aspirations for their futures.

Although conducted a few years ago, the study's core findings still have currency. And the leadership that women can offer to society is never more needed. Marie Wilson, founder of The White House Project, says,

"The core of what women bring to leadership -- a tendency toward greater inclusiveness, empathy, communication up and down hierarchies, focus on broader issues -- makes stronger government and richer business."

On Susan B Anthony Day - and every day - how might you create opportunities in which young women leaders can, as Norris put it, "practice asserting their personal authority"?

And if you are a woman leader, recognize and respect the influence you have as a role model for future female leaders.

Resources
Jeannie Norris
Marie C Wilson
Susan B Anthony
Susan B Anthony Day
Barriers & Bias: The Status of Women in Leadership

Image by ThePixelman from Pixabay

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