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Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.

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Pentecost Sunday, Year C
The Baptism of Penny Keane
South Sydney Uniting Church
May 15, 2016

Psalm 104; Acts 2:1-11; John 14:8-17

‘The Word made fresh’

Did you know that today is Pentecost? That’s a Greek word meaning 50 days – because it’s 50 days between Easter Sunday (when God raised Jesus to new life) and Pentecost Sunday (when the Spirit of Jesus gave the disciples new hope). That’s the first thing we can learn about today. Could we please have a teacher come to the whiteboard and write the word “Pentecost”.

You might not know that Pentecost is also an older Jewish festival which marks 50 days between God’s freeing the people from slavery in Egypt (Passover) and God’s giving Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai (Shavuot). 

Just as God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and in a fire on the mountain – good teaching (Torah) on how to live together in freedom, so God’s fire touched each of the disciples in a way that helped them speak to one another about Jesus (in different languages!).

So Pentecost is about good teaching and good teachers. That’s what the fire means. We give thanks for Moses and for Jesus. And we give thanks for their good teaching.

What should we write on the board so we can remember that?

How many words do you know for “thank you”? 

Penny has told me a little about some of her teachers - Ms Kalantzis who is very kind, Mr Baxter who is very funny, and Ms Schwartz who makes learning fun. There’s also Coach Lorraine who takes netball very seriously - there’s no funny business while Coach Lorraine is teaching!

Kindness, laughter, enjoyment, serious concentration - these are all marks of good teaching and good teachers.

Maybe you have your own examples of good teachers … and how you feel when you learn something new.

I had a good teacher once who taught me that talk about God can be made clear and fresh (like clean water) if we ask simple questions about the words we hear. I learned that the word “disciple” means student. The word “ministry” means care. The word “gospel” means good news. The word “soul” means person - everything it means to be a person.

So, as curious disciples/students and as living souls/persons, we have learned quite a lot today. Are there any questions you’d like to ask? …

Here’s the gospel/good news for us today. Wherever we receive good teaching and whenever we meet a good teacher, we also receive the ministry/care of God – and the most amazing gift: the Holy Spirit of Jesus. Amen.

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