Preaching on Stewardship- May 20, 2018

Happy Monday! Every Monday (when not on leave or vacation) I share a few tidbits, nuggets, or ideas for incorporating some stewardship themes in your preaching. This week’s stewardship nuggets based on the appointed readings by the Revised Common Lectionary and Narrative Lectionary are as follows:

Sunday May 20, 2018: Revised Common Lectionary- The Day of Pentecost
First Lesson: Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
Second Lesson: Romans 8:22-27
Gospel of John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Some stories don’t need much extra explanation for thinking about stewardship. I would argue that today’s story, the story of Pentecost is such a one.

“And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability” (Acts 2:2-4, NRSV).

As the Holy Spirit comes and fills us, we are changed forever. This year it seems the Holy Spirit is leading me to ask the big questions: What does this mean? Where will the Holy Spirit lead? To what, or to who are we being called? How do we steward these calls and our lives as a part of them?

These questions of mine somewhat echo the questions from within the Acts story itself:

  • “And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?” (Acts 2:8, NRSV)
  • “All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?‘ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.'” (Acts 2:13, NRSV)

These questions are part of the mysteries of faith which we are entrusted with and steward. Where might the Holy Spirit be leading today?

Or, what kind of visions or dreams might God be calling us to discern and follow? As we read in the story, “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams…” (Acts 2:17, NRSV)

Any of these questions could be stewardship sermons in the making. Imagining or wondering about the present and the future. Pondering about God’s call and invitation to follow and be a part of God’s work. And perhaps that’s not all too different to how those present on that first Pentecost day might have felt with the tongues of fire, different languages, and mystery of it all.

Sunday May 20, 2018: Narrative Lectionary- The Day of Pentecost
Narrative Theme for the Day: Pentecost: Rejoice in the Lord (Year 4, Week 37)
Focus Passages: Acts 2:1-21; Philippians 4:4-7
Gospel Verse: John 14:16-17

Note: If preaching on the Pentecost story itself from Acts, please see the thoughts on that in the above section, on the revised common lectionary.

Pentecost is a day to take heart and proclaim, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4, NRSV). It’s a day for thanksgiving and praise, just as Paul writes, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NRSV).

More broadly, with the gift and presence of the Holy Spirit, “Advocate,” or the “Spirit of Truth” (John 14:16-17), we are called, gathered, and sent to be bearers of God’s redeeming work of love and kingdom building in the world.

In thinking about stewardship, it might be a good week to ponder and share words of praise and rejoicing. It could also be a good week to ponder and share about what are some ways that your faith community is part of God’s work and the work of building the kingdom already? What might be some new ways that God could be calling you or preparing you for?

Whichever lectionary you might be preaching on, may the Holy Spirit be active, interceding, and pushing and leading you this week.

Image Credit: Pentecost

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