Pentecost. Wow! Don't you feel it? When I look out on you all, and see you all in your spirit-costumes, I can see that "the word moves upon the water" in this faith community. But I wonder, do we get it? Do we know what pentecost is? In the gospel today, we heard about a party that the disciples were having. But is that what pentecost is? A party? No!
The prefix "Pente" means "Five", and the suffix, "cost" is obvious. So let's talk for a minute about the "five costs" of receiving the spirit.
The first cost is pride. You can't be "in the walk" if you are prideful! You've got to let your pride go! You've got to let yourself be a clown for the spirit! Because what is pride if it's not dignity? What's all this noise these days about dignity? We've got to become as little children - downright silly!
The second cost is comfort. Are you comfortable? If you are, you are sinning against the spirit! I'm not talking about physical comfort. The spirit knows that I would be lost without a comfortable pair of Birkenstocks under my vestments! No, I'm talking about spiritual comfort. Are you comfortable in the spirit? Do you feel a sense of peace and happiness? Well, if so, then you've got to WAKE UP! Wake up and realize that you should be on fire with the spirit - like sitting on a nest of fire ants - you've got to be up and jumping around.
The third cost is safety. I know we all feel safe, here in this country, which was stolen from the indians, who knew all about the spirit and yet the white man came and took their land away. And then we lectured them, all about God and whatnot - while they already knew about the spirit! They had ways of communing with the Great Manitee that we can only dream about. It's all lost now, but the indians are still here! As Sister Fairah has pointed out to me on at least ten occasions, we belong to the earth! Why don't you try to let go of safety? I'd like every other person to stand up now. Come on. Thank you. Now, all you people standing, go and change places with someone across the church. Just walk right across and then sit down in their seat. No, it's OK. Just come right across the altar - don't step onto the baptismal pool cover - it won't support your weight. That's right. Just come across. Just keep coming across. I'll wait until you are all seated.
Thank you. Now. Do you feel safe? Do you feel like you're comfortable? Look at the person on your right. Now on your left. do you know them? Now, I can't tell you to do this, but what I'd like you to do is to go home, or at least to lunch, with the person you're sitting next to. And be church with them!
The fourth cost is money. You've got to give money to your faith community. Do you think it's costly to pay the government? If so, you're sinning against the spirit. Wasn't it Peter who said "give unto Caeser?" But you've got to give unto the Church too. I'd like to take this moment to thank Doctor and Mizz Argot, who made a generous contribution to allow SOV2 to be able to buy a green power lawn mower. Let's give them a round of applause. Thanks Doctor! You're the best! And keep that Oxycontin coming! Ha ha!
Seriously now. The fifth cost is freedom. Because you've got to be free, but you can't be free when you live in slavery to the expectations of society. What does society expect of us? That we dress "just right." That we obey laws, that we don't cuss or swear or take drugs or whatever. Right now, one of our parishioners is sitting in jail, with no freedom. He has paid one of the costs of pentecost. Will you pay that price? Like Sister June-May and her courageous anti-nuke brigade? Are you going to pay the cost?
Now, I'd like to end this homily on a high note, because people get depressed sometimes when we talk about "costs" and other uncomfortable things. I was going to tell a joke about a bishop, a priest, and a rabbi, but instead I think we can end by singing. Let's all join in with one of the ancient classics of the Church. Todd, can you fire up that keyboard and get us started? Thanks! You'll find our hymn, "Sing to the Mountains" at number 340 in the People's Praise songbook.