May 28th: What Energy Do You Bring To The World?, with Rev. Dr. Steven Koski.
A Part of the Series:
Place your hand on your heart. Come on, go ahead this this is actually the participation part of my message. Place your hand on your heart. Take a deep, deep breath, release your shoulders from your ears, unclench and loosen your jaw. Now imagine your breath, dropping from your chest, down into your belly, about two inches behind your navel. You know when we’re stressed and anxious and afraid our our breath gets really shallow, trapped in the tightness of our chest and shoulders. And that’s where fear anxiety and anger reside in the tension of our shoulders and the tightness of our chest and you’re squeezing our hearts not allowing any space for for love to breathe.
Take slow, deep breaths. Imagine finding the breath that sits beneath the chaos and turmoil of life. The breath that is connected to God’s breath, God’s Spirit. The word for breath in Hebrew Rouhani is the same word for spirit. Imagine God’s Spirit as close to you as your own breath. Take slow, deep breaths. And imagine you’re connecting with with a wisdom greater than your wisdom.
A strength greater than your own strength. Howard Thurman said sometimes when we can slip beneath the chaos and turmoil. If we take deep breaths, and listen, we can hear the whispers in the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope, to despair. It’s perfectly understandable these days, if you feel anxious, afraid, exhausted. You can’t afford to let yourself get discouraged. God has need to view this world in so much turmoil and pain has need of you. The world has needed the courage of your heart and the fullness of your love. You know, my prayer for you right now is the Apostle Paul’s prayer in Ephesians three, where the apostle Paul prays. I asked God to strengthen you. Not a brute strength you can try to muster on your own but a glorious inner strength deeply rooted and grounded in love.
You know, I remember what I used to run marathons. 26.2 miles, I know you look at this body and think he ran marathons. But I did. Inevitably, you would hit a you would hit a wall around mile 22 or mile 23. And you convinced that you couldn’t possibly you can’t possibly take another step. That somehow in some great mystery. You reach deep inside and you find a second wind, you find an inner strength that you didn’t know you had to keep going. That’s what we could really use in these challenging days. When so much trauma has taken our breath away, knock the wind out of us. We need to catch a second wind. We need to find that glorious inner strength. We need inspiration.
The word inspire actually comes from the Latin spirit us, which literally means to breathe in. Imagine the practice of prayer as simply taking deep breaths. Receiving a glorious inner strength rooted and grounded in love. Praying that way your energy would change. You would bring a different spirit into the world. You know one way of understanding our spiritual lives our spiritual lives is the spirit we carry. The energy we bring into the world.
There’s a sign that greets you as you enter the Indiana University Health Center. I think this particular sign should be at the doorway of every medical center, every school, every business, every grocery store, every every political building, every church, the sign says please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space. Your words matter your behaviors matter. Our patients and our team’s matter. Take a slow deep breath and make sure your energy is in check before entry. Thank you.
Now imagine the transformation that would take place if more if more and more people took responsibility for the energy they bring into their spaces for the energy they bring into their relationships and into the world. This weekend we celebrate Pentecost. Pentecost is when we in the church remember when the earliest followers of Jesus became filled with the Spirit of God. They inhaled God’s breath and on that first Pentecost. They then exhale the energies of divine love into the world.
Pentecost is the day we traditionally celebrate as the birthday of the church. Just as we took our first breath on the day of our birth, God breathed life and spirit and passion and courage into the earliest followers of Jesus. Let me give you a little background. Pentecost was an was an annual Jewish Spring Festival. It was always held 50 days after Passover. Now after Jesus was crucified, it was too dangerous. It wasn’t safe at all for the followers of Jesus to be to be seen out in public. The Bible says there were about 120 followers of Jesus. And they were huddled in in fear behind locked doors, feeling defeated and discouraged, wondering what in the world, what are we going to do now without Jesus. And then the unexpected happened.
And here’s how the Bible describes it. When the day of Pentecost came, the followers of Jesus were together in one place, and suddenly there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and this mighty wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. Now that mighty wind blew through the entire house Striking sparks, that burst into dancing flames above their heads. And the Bible says they were filled with the Spirit. It’s really hard to know what in fact happened, versus what in faith happened. But here’s what we do know. Those same followers of Jesus, those same followers of Jesus who were huddled in fear earlier that day, they became inspired. They caught a second when they found a glorious inner strength. And they began to love with the same energy, the same kind of love they witnessed in Jesus. after Pentecost, they brought a different energy into the world.
Our friends, it’s time that we bring a different energy into the world. The Bible says the result of the earliest followers of Jesus being filled with the Spirit is that they loved one another in such a way that the Bible says that there was no one in need. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine a movement and spirit of love so powerful, that there is no one in need.
The first 300 years after the death of Jesus is called the age of faith, where the energy was around passionately living in the way of Jesus. In fact, the followers of Jesus were called people of the way. Before Christianity became a rich and powerful religion before it became associated with buildings and budgets, crusades, or correct beliefs. It actually began as a revolutionary movement of love, promoting a different way of being in the world, caring for those living on the margins.
Sometime after the fourth century, when Christianity became the, the official religion of the Empire under Constantine, a shift took place, and it became what is called the age of belief.
It actually became more important to have correct beliefs about Jesus, than to try and live in love like Jesus. Christianity became a status and institution. Rather than a movement, or a practice or way of being in the world. Christianity became about having the right beliefs or theology, rather than the practice of loving your neighbor.
Consider this remarkable fact in Jesus Sermon on the Mount. There is not a single word about what to believe. There are only words about what to do, how to be, what it looks like to live as light for all the world. But by the time the Nicene Creed is written 300 years later, after the church became the official religion of the empire, only three centuries later. There’s not a single word in it, about what to do and how to be and how to be light for all the world. There are only words about what to believe. And what are the correct beliefs.
Pentecost is the birthday of the church for the church quiches declining in numbers for the church to have a rebirth. We need to embrace the age of spirit. I mean, what if the church wasn’t focused on policing your beliefs to make sure they’re correct?
What If the Church wasn’t focused on preserving the institution? But instead, we rediscovered ourselves as a revolutionary movement of love? What If the Church became focused on the spirit and the energy we bring to the world? I mean, what what if we gathered in worship, to breathe in the Spirit of God? To receive a glorious inner strength rooted and grounded in love so that we might live in the way of Jesus?
Do you remember when the temperature has dropped below zero and we opened our doors as an emergency warming shelter, and we we pitched tents in the sanctuary.
One of our homeless guests said You know, I’m not a religious person at all. But there is a certain spirit in this place. You can feel it. If I was the joining type, he said i i join a church that pitches tents where they worship, to keep people like me from freezing to death is Pentecost something mysterious and unexplainable that that happened to some other group of people a long, long time ago? Or do we dare believe even today that we can catch God’s breath that we can find a second wind
Do we dare believe in a God whose spirit blows through closed doors and can turn our weakness into strength our Fear into Courage our despair, into hope.
Teilhard de Chardin wrote Sunday after mastering the winds, the waves the tides of gravity. We shall harness for God the energies of love. And then for a second time in the history of the world we will have discovered fire you may feel anxious and exhausted I get it but you can’t afford to be discouraged. God has a need of you the world has need of you the world has need of the fullness of your heart and the energies of your love take a deep breath Spirit of the Living God fall afresh upon us
Teilhard de Chardin wrote “Someday after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides of gravity. We shall harness for God the energies of love. And then for a second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.”
Friends the world has need of you. Take a deep breath. Breathe in the Spirit of God receive a glorious inner strength rooted and grounded in love. And may the Spirit of the Living God set your hearts on fire and inspire you to bring the energies of love into the world.
Go into peace of Christ and may the spirit and energy you bring into the world bring peace to others