Thy Kingdom Come, May 31, 2020

Reading: Exodus 19.10-20.21

Reflection: In Jewish tradition, the fiftieth day after Passover, that is Pentecost (called Shavuot in Hebrew), is the day when the law was given from the mouth of God to the hand of Moses on Mount Sinai. Since the decisive revelation of God to Jews is the Torah, God’s teaching at Sinai, you can imagine that there are many pious legends surround this event. One of my favorite has God hanging the mountain over the people to ask if they would accept Torah or would rather have the mountain dropped. It’s meant to be amusing and also express the feeling of obligation that comes with following God through the good and the bad times. But today, there is another legend I find myself thinking about. In this one, there are seventy nations standing together at the foot of Sinai. At that time, it was thought that there were 70 nations, this is why Jesus sends out 70 ambassadors in Luke’s gospel, one for each nation. So there they are, all the peoples of the earth at the foot of Sinai, and God starts offering the gifts and obligations of Torah to every nation, starting with the greatest, and they all said no; not one of them would accept Torah. Then God comes to the least of all the peoples of the earth, Israel, they accept the Torah, Moses goes up the mountain, and the rest is salvation history.

For those of us not born Jewish, Christian Pentecost is something of a do-over for us. Not that we must accept Torah before we can follow Jesus on the Way, that is not the message of the gospel, but we get a second chance to stand at Sinai and say ‘Yes’ to God. We get another chance to accept the responsibilities, joys, requirements, and rewards of saying ‘Yes’ to God as the Spirit comes to dwell in us. Note: The Spirit comes to dwell on us all. That is grace. The salvation of God is free to all. The ‘responsibilities, joys, requirements, and rewards’ of which I speak are that of bearing the name of Christ in the world. We commit ourselves to the justice of God, the righteousness of the Kingdom, the glory of reconciliation, and the compassion and healing that comes through picking up our cross and following the Anointed One, crucified, risen, and ascended, on the Way. We gather at the foot of Sinai with all the nations of the world and we can choose today to say ‘Yes’ to God today, to renew our covenant with God, and go forth on the mission that the Holy One has entrusted to us.

After these days of reading scripture, reflecting, and praying together, as we stand at the foot of Sinai, let us renew our covenant to God through the promises of baptism:

Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil and renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?
I do.

Do you believe in God the Father?
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.\

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
I will, with God’s help.

Prayer: Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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