The following was the message that I shared at the Eureka Health Care Center on Wednesday. The scriptures were: Romans 8: 26 and 28 and Acts 2:1-8, 14-17a and 21. The reason that I chopped up the scripture so much is that I realize they are bored with the reading of long passages so I am going to try something new by only sticking to the most relevant parts of the passage. My messages will also be shorter to keep their interest. Here is what they heard from me.
I have three sisters and one brother, and they all have summer birthdays. Three of them are in June and one in July. I was born in April; I am the oddball, but that is ok with me. We really could celebrate with one big part sometime in the middle, but that would be no fun.
My own children are all born within one month of each other, and the oldest two are on consecutive days. When they were toddlers, we were careful to give them separate parties with their own cakes and stack of presents and all. In order to keep peace we always had them open one present on the other one’s birthday. It was great on the first day when the oldest had her birthday, but on the second day when it was the younger one’s birthday, the oldest always looked at the opened gifts and said, “We can share.”
Birthdays and anniversaries are fun things to celebrate. Yet having a birthday is something that some people try to down play as they get older. It seems that many people are happy to turn 29 or 49, but not 30 or say 50. But when you stop to think about it, having birthdays is good because it means that you are still going. I like to think of it as: “God still has something for me to do on this earth.” God still wants me to accomplish something for him, to share more about his kingdom and his love and the Son that he sent to save us from our sins, to save us from all of the things we can get ourselves into.
The scripture lessons that we read for today come from the Sunday of Pentecost. It is the scripture that tells about the birth of the Christian Church. We celebrate it each year as way to mark the anniversary of the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is sent to believers after Jesus ascended to heaven to comfort, advocate for us and even to help us pray. Romans 8:26 basically says when things are so bad that we don’t know how or what to pray, the spirit steps in and prays for us “with sighs too deep for words.”
So, the next time you celebrate a birthday or anniversary, or you think of a birthday or anniversary of a loved one or friend, I would like you to remember that the Church has a birthday too. And with the beginning of the Christian Church we are all given the Holy Spirit that helps us to communicate with God and Jesus as we pray. Because of the Holy Spirit, we have the opportunity to share our concerns and joys and love for God. Amen!