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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

June 2022


June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

June 5, 2022

 

"The Day the Universe Changed"
Sermon for Pentecost Sunday
June 5, 2022
Rev. Lisa Strong Chase
Silver Spring Presbyterian Church, Mechanicsburg, PA
All Rights Reserved.

Old Testament Text: Genesis 11:1-11

Our sermon text comes from Acts, Chapter 2: 2-13. Please listen to the word from the Lord.

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

2 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. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 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 people under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”1

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Fellow Jews[a] and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘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.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit,
        and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
    and signs on the earth below,
        blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
        before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’2

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

In 1985, the British Broadcasting Company produced the television documentary series, “The Day the Universe Changed: A Personal View by James Burke, science historian. The 10-week, hour-long series focused on the effects of advances in science and technology on western society in its philosophical aspects. In the United States, the series was broadcasted in fall of 1986. Burke also produced a companion book to accompany the series.

It is a fascinating book and series, which depicts how changes in healthcare, printing, technology, farming, shipbuilding etc., over the centuries affected society.

Commentators and Burke himself described that the title comes from the idea that the universe only exists as one perceives it through what one knows; therefore, if one changes one's perception of the universe with new knowledge one has changed the universe itself. To illustrate this concept, James Burke tells the various stories of important scientific discoveries and technological advances and how they fundamentally altered how Western Civilization perceives the world.3

For instance, while the printing press has its origins in China, it was not until goldsmith and inventor Johannes Gutenberg, a political exile from Germany when began experimenting with printing in Strasbourg, France in 1440. He returned to Germany several years later and by 1450, had a printing machine perfected and ready to use commercially, which was The Gutenberg Press. In 1452, he printed 180 copies of the 1,300-page Gutenberg Bible. 4

James Burke said that the advent of the printing press, and Gutenberg’s moment of genius, improved the literacy of the masses exponentially. Gutenberg is supposed to have said, the idea of the printing press coming to him like a beam of light.5

While Burke does not have an entry on how Pentecost changed the universe, as discoveries in science and technology did, the events around Pentecost and there after DID change the universe that day, around 9 a.m. in the morning, because the Church universal was born, and the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit began and become an integral component of our Christian faith. From then onwards, evangelism, the gifts and ministry of the Holy Spirit, assumed a new dimension.

This Pentecost experience should have not come as a surprise, as Peter recounted from the book of Joel, one of the twelve minor prophets, but also when Jesus was with his disciples, he promised he would send the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John, chapter 14: 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”6

Pentecost was a day that changed the world as society knew it, as afterwards, churches began in homes all over the Roman Empire, and Jesus’s life, death and resurrection were celebrated, often at great risk.  The different languages heard and understood at Pentecost, with these individuals coming together, is a full-circle experience from our Genesis text, when God scattered the builders of the tower to heaven – the Tower of Babel, each with their own language, throughout the world, because the Lord saw they would do this, no telling what else they would do, with their own wills, not driven by God’s.  In this time and place, their descendants are back in this place, many generations later, to experience the Holy Spirit, Glorying God with their respective languages, yet each person understanding the other.

Over time, from a small group of 3,000 people at Pentecost who accepted Jesus, and were baptized in the Holy Spirit, Christianity has grown to a membership of more than 2.5 billion people, making it the largest body of faith in the world. It has only been in the last 122 years or so, that members of the Christian faith have exponentially increased in numbers – back in 1910 about six hundred million, with the fast number of evangelical Christians growing in Central and South America, and in Africa. 7

For us to understand how important this event was, we must get an idea of what life was like back in the time of Pentecost?

  • Roman Empire ruled all aspects of daily life.
  • Citizens were heavily taxed – at 50-60 percent of income, to support the lavish lifestyles of the wealthy.

According to historians, about percent of the population was born into nobility and lived lavishly. The remaining 90 percent worked the fields, growing grapes, olives and grain, or raising sheep and goats.  The people were subsistence farmers, raising one bag of food for themselves and one for Herod or Caesar, said Douglas Oakman, a professor at Pacific Lutheran Seminary.8

“Some may have been better off than others--and we’re talking about approximately 90% of the Mediterranean population--but most peasants lived a precarious existence,” biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan said in an interview in Christian Century magazine. “I think it’s safe to say that by our standards, injustice was built into this system--10% at the top controlled virtually everything.” 9

Here are more issues facing people living at the time of Pentecost:

  • Women and Children were second and third-class citizens
  • Abject Poverty
  • Sickness and Disease
  • People were coerced

Then Christ was born, ministered to thousands of people, was arrested, crucified, buried, but then was resurrected from the GRAVE, and overcame death!

Because of this great sacrifice, we have eternal life in Christ.

Dr. D. James Kennedy, senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, (PC-America) - (Kennedy died in 2007) authored a compelling book, What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?

Here are some of the life-changing things Dr. Kennedy believes may not have happened, or they would be created in different circumstances:

  • Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.
  • Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started for Christian purposes.
  • Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.
  • (Especially Presbyterian Form of government!)
  • The separation of political powers.
  • Literacy and education for the masses.
  • The elevation of women.
  • Civil liberties.
  • The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.
  • The discovery of the New World by Columbus.
  • Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.
  • Higher standards of justice.
  • The elevation of the common person.
  • High regard for human life (love for the unborn, sick and elderly).
  • The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.
  • Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.
  • The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel. 10

The eternal salvation of countless souls.

Imagine if Jesus had never been born - that is a terrifying thought. But he was, and we are charged to carrying out Christ’s mission, stated in Matthew 25, doing for the least of these, as Jesus calls us to do.

As Christians, we change the universe daily, with the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, when we consciously live out our values, seeking to be a grace-filled family of faith sharing Christ's love with all – we change someone else’s universe, or our own, when we show compassion, share hospitality, nurture relationships, especially those that are difficult ones, and when we steward God’s many gifts.

We change the universe when we speak and demonstrate our common language of love, compassion and grace, which is better understood when we provide examples of that language, through actions that help and comfort someone else.

With the direction and leading of the Holy Spirit, who came to us at Pentecost those many years ago, we too change the universe around us, bringing about God’s Kingdom here on earth.  Let us go forth now, speaking and living with love, compassion and service to others. And may it be so. Amen.

 

 

Cited Works

 

1 Harold W. Attridge, General Editor, The HarperCollins Study Bible. San Francisco: HarperOne, 1989, pp. 1858-1859.

2 Ibid, pp. 1859-1860.

3 Burke, James. The Day the Universe Changed, (Introduction). London: Little, Brown, 1985.     

4 www. britannica.com, Johannes Gutenberg | Printing Press, Inventions, Facts, Accomplishments, & Biography | Britannica, accessed June 2, 2022

5 Burke, James. “The Day the Universe Changed” (Television series, episode 10) London:British Broadcasting Company, 1985.     

6 Harold W. Attridge, General Editor, The HarperCollins Study Bible. San Francisco: HarperOne, 1989, pp. 1842-1843.                                                                                                  

7 Lisa Chase, Class notes, Lancaster Theological Seminary, 2019. 

8 “Tale of Jesus’ Life Provides Look at Social Climate of the Times: History: Scholars say Mary and Joseph lived in an oppressive society in which they were heavily taxed”  Los Angeles Times Archives, December 24, 1994, accessed June 2, 2022. 

9 Ibid.   

10 D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishing, 1994.

Last Published: June 13, 2022 1:08 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

June 2022


June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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