Bottomless Cup

Bottomless Cup – June 4th, 2017

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Acts 2:1-21

1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes 11Cretans and Arabs — in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17  ‘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.
18  Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
19  And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20  The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21  Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”

 

Can you imagine the scene in the upper room? The dial on the senses turned up to 11 – feeling the violent wind blowing open the doors and filling every corner of the room, seeing the tongues of fire resting above each of them, hearing the many languages from around the world being spoken… it feels chaotic, but in the midst of the seeming cacophony, devout Jews from every nation under heaven – hears them proclaiming in their own language. The Holy Spirit is a mystery, but it is also a creative and orderly force moving in, with, under, above, and through these disciples. The Good News is going “global”, and it all starts with violent wind.

Before Jesus departed, he promised something wonderful was about to happen – they just needed to wait for it. The Lord wasn’t going to leave the people orphaned. God was about to do something new – they just needed to stick together.

 

1 Corinthians 12:3b-13

3bNo one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord;6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

 

The Bible is the Word of God and no time is wasted spent in the study, prayer, or devotion time.

As I get older, I also find the gospel in unexpected places –

During my freshman year in college, I fell in love with coffee and Cervantes. I think I caught a glimpse of Jesus of Nazareth in the Man from La Mancha. We had to read Don Quixote in our Humanities class at the University of Missouri. I know some of you have read the book (in Spanish), others have watched the play or seen the movie.

 

Don Quixote – delusions of grandeur…

His horse is no longer a clumsy beast of burden, but a powerful and stately stallion.

Sancho Panza  – an illiterate servant becomes a squire.

Dulcinea – Don Quixote sees this ordinary woman as a princess.

Windmills weren’t just windmills, they were giants…and so he galloped toward them and tilted…

Others made fun of this delusional man, but what is a better view; to see the world as it is, or to dream about how it could be.

On the first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes in like a violent wind – tongues of fire rest above the disciples heads – and many start to speak in different languages. The amazing thing is, some hear God being praised in their native language.

Just like Don Quixote, there are some who scoff – they’re drunk. There will always be folks who scoff, but Peter steps up and begins to defend and explain what is going on…He says this fulfills what is prophesized by Joel –

Walls come down… men and women, young and old, us and them…. This is a message of universal salvation and empowerment for everyone…

The good news is the Holy Spirit doesn’t stop pouring the good gifts…

I mentioned earlier that I fell in love with coffee my freshman year of college, and I believe in the bottomless cup…In college, rent at the local coffeehouse was only two dollars – the price of a cup of coffee meant a poor student could sit, read, and write for hours. The mug wasn’t free, but the refills were. The cost of the discipleship and following Jesus isn’t free, but the Holy Spirit fills and refills our cup.

The Holy Spirit keeps pouring out good gifts…but they are not just for us. They are for the common good. They come to each of us individually, but they are meant for the collective.

8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

The Holy Spirit is an endless buffet of good gifts, but it’s always for others.

Americans waste an unfathomable amount of food. In fact, according to a recent report –  roughly 50 percent of all produce in the United States is thrown away—some 60 million tons (or $160 billion).

We waste an unfathomable amount of heavenly gifts – we let greed and fear have the day as we squirrel away today’s blessing – we let doubt and worry cripple us as we fear what might happen tomorrow.

Open your hands.

Open your hearts.

Be filled.

When you find your cup overflowing…it’s time to start pouring into someone else’s mug…

“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

 

Young people…see visions.

Old men…dream dreams.

 

We need to start looking for better visions and impossible dreams…

 

 

 

 

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