Sermon for Pentecost
John 7.37-39; Acts 2.1-21
There are a few more people here this week! Last week, some of our number were at the annual tent camp at Bigriggen, just down the road from Rathdowney. (And turn right, and then a left, and continue down the road, and if you’re lucky, it’s just… Well, you get the idea.)
The Jewish people have an annual tent camp too. It’s called the Feast of Tabernacles, or Booths. It’s a harvest festival, and Jewish people are meant to live in a tent or a hut for the week of the festival. It’s not that easy sometimes to pitch a tent!—I read a fabulous book by AJ Jacobs earlier this year called The Year of Living Biblically. The author is a New Yorker who says that the book is
about my quest to live the ultimate biblical life. To follow every single rule in the Bible—as literally as possible. I obey the famous ones:
• The Ten Commandments
• Love thy neighbor
• Be fruitful and multiply
But also, the hundreds of oft-ignored ones.
• Do not wear clothes of mixed fibers.
• Do not shave your beard
• Stone adulterers
When it came to October, time for the Feast of Tabernacles, Jacobs was in a fix. Where could he erect a tent to live in for a week in New York City? On the roof of his building? Central Park? Neither place seemed like a good idea. In the end, he set up a pup tent in the living room of his apartment, and at bedtime he tried to get as much of his body as he could into it.
It was the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7, and Jesus was in Jerusalem. During this week-long festival, the high priest would pour out bowls of water at the altar. So it comes as no surprise that Jesus uses the image of water:
‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”’
What are these flowing, sparkling, living rivers of water? They are the Holy Spirit… Continue reading