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 Sermon June 5th, Pentecost 2022 What a fabulous day we celebrate today! Today is Pentecost, the arrival of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we are celebrating a baptism! Wherein Scarlett’s family gives thanks for their child and we get to welcome Scarlett into the body of Christ and see him blessed with the reception of that same gift of the Holy Spirit we celebrate in Pentecost. Pentecost is the perfect time for a baptism, it is the beginning of the Christian Church, the formation of a new community and the birth of a new identity for the people of God. It was at Pentecost that the Holy Spirit filled the disciples and blessed them with gifts and abilities yet unrecognised.  It was at Pentecost that the disciples, who had so very recently been hiding behind locked doors in a paralysis of fear, stood in front of the crowds and proclaimed Christ’s message.  It was at Pentecost when the disciples, ones who follow…truly became apostles, ones who are sent. It was at Pentecost when they saw themselves as changed.  Their fears and abilities transformed; and on that day so long ago the church was born and the disciple received a new identity…as Christians. Now we gather here at St Andrew’s, to welcome our newest member of that same church.  Not, only the church of St Andrew’s.  But to welcome Scarlett into the body of Christ, the church as a whole,… the apostleship of those who, transformed by the Spirit are sent out to transform the world. Now little Scarlett, may not be preaching yet…at least not in words.  Though she certainly is an example of the unconditional love God has for his people, little Scarlett, one could says preaches love embodied. And today she has received a new identity. It is in her baptism, she receives the identity of Christian.   A new sense of self, a new name.  Scarlett Jane ______________, Christian. This is going to be a defining feature of her life ahead…she will know that whatever life throws at her…this is her home.  She has been anointed, blessed, called, received and joined with the church of Christ throughout the world.  The body of Christ, of which she will now be a member. Yet, we all know that not all children baptized remember their call and not all who remember their baptism have strength to live up to it.   Which is why there is no such thing as a solo Christian.  To be Christian, is to be in community.  In baptism, her parents, god parents and her community here at St Andrew’s all promise to help her grow into the apostle that God calls her to be, calls each of us to be. We all promise to support Scarlett as she grows in Christ, helping her parents and godparents to nurture her in the faith and life of the Christian community, so that she may grow into the full stature of Christ.              Something that we are all trying to do. When we witness a baptism we get a reminder that we don’t walk this path alone.  That we are a community of people and it is as a community, as a church, that we can support one another so that all of us can grow into the full stature of Christ.  Something that is only possible with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. That Pentecost, so long ago, the disciples found themselves speaking in tongues, as tongues of flame sat upon them.  They were filled and empowered by the Spirit, each as the Spirit gave them ability.  And that is key, each …as the Spirit…gave them ability.  We don’t choose our gift, ours is a gift and a blessing and one that God has created us especially for. Now although we associate Pentecost with the Spiritual gift of languages, not all the gifts are the same and not all get the same gifts as those first apostles. At that time and at that place the gift that was needed was the gift of language, so that the message of Christ could be spread throughout the world.  Each person gathered on that Pentecost day would hear the Word of God proclaimed in their own language… Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs…that is to say symbolically…the whole world. At that time and place the gift of language was freely dispersed.  It was indeed, a miracle.  That miracle of Pentecost though, was not a one time event.  For Peter proclaimed, and we over the ages have seen lived, out the miracle of the prophecy of Joel. That God’s sons and daughters would prophesy, that young men will see visions and old men would dream dreams.  Even upon slaves, men and women the Holy Spirit would be poured out.  We have seen this happen, we have heard those prophesies, visions and dreams … the gifts of the Spirit in the likes of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King jr. Elder Gladys Cook and so many others.  Gifts of the Spirit at work in the world.   And how very exciting it will be to see what gifts of the Spirit are in store for Scarlett. Prophecy, teaching, encouraging, leadership, generosity, mercy, wisdom, knowledge, miracles, interpretation, healing, administration, faith…and those are simple the ones listed in the letter to the Corinthians. In the whole of the bible and in our own experiences, we know that the Spirit is able to give an abundance of spiritual gifts and each according to the Spirit.  That is certainly something we can give thanks for and something Scarlett can look forward to. That in the body of Christ there is room, and in fact a guarantee, of a variety of gifts and expressions of the Spirit so that each person can truly be who God has called them to be. Confident that their uniqueness is no mistake and that the Spirit has something special in store for them.  Today the body of Christ, has been blessed with a new and unique addition.  New gifts, new Spirit, to enrich the whole and to help fill out the body of Christ.   Because that is what the Holy Spirit does, it transforms the body of Christ.  Transforms the church and indeed the world. It is a big responsibility and a big challenge that each member of the body of Christ faces, a heavy burden laid on the newly baptized.   Too heavy for simply parents and god parents to deal with.  We are a community, we are one body, that is why we…who are not parents, not god parents still have a part to play, still have a responsibility. That is why we stopped having private baptisms, and began holding baptisms in the Sunday service, in the midst of the Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving…with the whole community. Because baptism is a communal event, it is a covenant and promise between the baptized, the church and God.  Especially when the one to be baptized is so little, it is our responsibility to do our very best to ensure that the body of Christ is healthy, whole and surrounded by prayers and practical support. So that each of the baptized can grow up filled with the Spirit and live out their lives making use of those gifts the Sprit gives, for the glory of God. The Day of Pentecost so many years ago transformed one small group of scared followers into an empowered and bold group of leaders.  Those gifts of the Spirit transformed the lives of hundreds that day, and ultimately changed the world. Pentecost shows us what the Holy Spirit can do with a few fishermen, tax collectors, and women and men.   Not perfect people by any means, but people who are perpetually striving to become so…to be more Christ like day by day…to be the body of Christ. To be the church.  To live lives of ministry, lives of service, lives filled with the Holy Spirit. To live out their new identity as baptized Christians, filled with the Spirit of Pentecost and ready to transform and be transformed. So, let us get ready to celebrate the baptism of Scarlett Jane, the newest Christian in our community and a beloved member of the church. May God bless her and fill his with the Holy Spirit that she may be a blessing to others! amen