Sunday, May 19, 2013: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Book of Genesis (11:1-9)


Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.


> Pentecost means “The 50 days,” or “The great 50 days.”

> Celebration in Judaism – Passover – the gathering in of winter wheat

> Historically, baptisms took place during Pentecost, not the Easter vigil.

> The color for Pentecost used to be white — Whitsunday — now red is used.

> Second most important day of the church year after Easter — fulfills a promise.


> Comes at the end of “pre-history.”

> Tries to explain why we have different languages.

> Middle eastern setting — brick and bitumen — not stone and mortar.

> Similarity to ziggurats.

> God told the people to scatter over the entire earth, but they wanted to stay together.

> The council of the Lord came down and gave them all different languages.

> The Lord scattered them abroad anyway.

> Babel – probably a slam of the city of Babylon.



Psalm 104:25-35, 37


25   O Lord, how manifold are your works! *

       in wisdom you have made them all;

       the earth is full of your creatures.

26   Yonder is the great and wide sea

       with its living things too many to number, *

       creatures both small and great.

27   There move the ships,

       and there is that Leviathan, *

       which you have made for the sport of it.

28   All of them look to you *

       to give them their food in due season.

29   You give it to them; they gather it; *

       you open your hand, and they are filled with good things.

30  You hide your face, and they are terrified; *

       you take away their breath,

       and they die and return to their dust.

31 You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; *

      and so you renew the face of the earth.

32  May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; *

      may the Lord rejoice in all his works.

33  He looks at the earth and it trembles; *

      he touches the mountains and they smoke.

34  I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; *

      I will praise my God while I have my being.

35  May these words of mine please him; *

      I will rejoice in the Lord.

37 Bless the Lord, O my soul. *



> Psalm 103 and 104 are similar – ” Bless the Lord o my soul.”

> Psalm 103 highlights God’s faithfulness.

> Psalm 104 talks about the creatures cared for by God.

> A leviathan is a sea monster.

> God’s spirit (breath) keeps them alive.

> Praise of God at the end — This is the first time “hallelujah” is used.



  A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (2:1-21)



When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.  Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” But 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. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘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. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”


> Used every year at Pentecost.

> Great Jewish feast of the harvest.
> All the Jewish believers are here from all over the world.

> A sound came – not actually the wind.

> Not the same as speaking in tongues — but speaking in different languages when they are in the house.

> A crowd outside hear these men from Galilee speaking in their own native languages.

> Some in the crowd were skeptical and thought they were drunk.

> Peter came and explained what was happening.

> Only in Acts is this event mentioned.

> Luke and Acts are Jerusalem focused.  From here the story moves to the ends of the earth.



The Holy Gospel of Our  Lord Jesus Christ according to John (14:8-17, 25-27)


Philip said to [Jesus], “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.


> The “Spirit” in John is the spirit of Jesus after he is raised from the dead.

> Jesus is the Advocate (or Paraclete).  One who stands by you in court.

> After Jesus is gone you get another advocate — the Holy Spirit.