let the sparks fly

Fire is a biblical symbol of life striking against God’s presence.  In the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus, Moses encountered God’s presence through a burning bush. In Luke 12:49 from the New Testament, Jesus said, “I came to bring fire to the earth.”  In today’s scripture reading from Acts, the presence of the Holy Spirit danced like wildfire upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost.  Today, on this Pentecost Sunday, 2022, we worship so God’s Holy Spirit may spark against our lives as we witness to God’s presence.

With the sparks of God’s presence flying, Peter stood up to speak about God’s presence in life.  Peter was the disciple who denied he knew Jesus when Jesus was being prepared for crucifixion. Peter did this not once, but three times, as he stood in the darkness of night by a flickering fire in the courtyard of the high priest.  Now, in the brilliance of the morning sun, Peter the denier became Peter the proclaimer as the sparks of God’s presence struck from his encounter with God.  Proclaiming the risen Christ to people gathered from all over the world, there was no question about the spark of God’s presence in Peter as he spoke about Joel’s vision of God’s Spirit being poured out upon all flesh.  The good news is that Joel’s vision of God’s Spirit being poured out upon all flesh is still being fulfilled as sparks of God’s presence fly in today’s world.

Photojournalist Francesco Malavolta was at a train station in Poland, hoping to document the arrival of refugees in the station when he noticed that empty strollers, some of which contained blankets and clothes, were lined up on a platform at the Przemyśl station, which sits at the border crossing between Ukraine and Przemyśl, Poland.  The strollers were left behind by Polish parents for Ukrainian mothers fleeing with babies.  “I thought of them both, about the solidarity of those who brought the strollers and the dramatic stories of mothers fleeing the war,” Malavolta reported.  He snapped a photo and uploaded it to social media.  It wasn’t long before the powerful image went viral. “There is a strong feeling of solidarity,” he said. “There should always be and for everyone, regardless of the starting points of the most fragile.”

Thousands of German residents have offered housing, food, clothes, and other necessities to Ukrainians who have fled their home country.  With posters in hand, indicating the type of support they can provide, Germans stand at Berlin’s central railway station, waiting to greet Ukrainians.

Sparks of God’s presence are seen as April, a Ukraine native who has been living in Germany for a year is one of the many volunteers offering emotional and material support. “The least I can do is help people who were able to escape.  It’s very important for me that my fellow Ukrainians feel welcome here, especially the children.”  Other volunteers are offering transportation, providing emergency accommodation, gifting mobile SIM cards, and matching refugees with people who are offering rooms in their homes.

On this Pentecost Sunday, sparks of God’s presence are flying in:

  • North Katanga, Africa, where persons who have been displaced by inter-ethnic violence in the Central African Republic are receiving food and supplies from The United Methodist Church
  • United Methodist Churches in Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, and Romania provide hospitality to refugees entering their countries
  • Zimbabwe, East Angola, North Katanga, Burundi, Nigeria, South Congo, and Haiti where health systems are strengthened as The United Methodist Church addresses staff and education needs and the procuring of medicine and other medical supplies
  • Lynchburg as Fort Hill United Methodist Church provides food through the Blessing Box

There is no question on this Pentecost Sunday that the sparks of God’s presence are being seen throughout the world.

The real question of Pentecost is how you are letting the sparks of God’s presence fly in your life.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Let the Sparks Fly!
by Pastor Marc Brown
June 5, 2022

Accompanying Scriptures: Acts 2:1-21

Fort Hill United Methodist Church
Order of Worship for June 5, 2021

Scripture Lesson    Acts 2:1-21

The Good News        “Let the Sparks Fly!

Music                           “Holy Spirit” by Jesus Culture



Closing Music      “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” by Penny Rodriguez

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