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I’m going to keep today’s sermon fairly brief, for two reasons. One, with Confirmation we’ve got a lot going on this morning and nobody wants to see the coffee get cold. Two, if I talk about these kids for too long I’ll probably just end up getting all choked up, and nobody wants to see that either.

The words of the physician Luke: “That day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

That is the day we remember on Pentecost Sunday. The day the church was born. The day the work that we as Christians do here in York, Maine began.

Sure, Pentecost didn’t take place in York, it took place in Jerusalem two thousand years ago. But it was the day that the Holy Spirit first descended upon the followers of Christ and empowered them to walk the way of God. To do the work of God. To live the life of God. We are here now, in this building that exists today, because the Spirit of God entered into those three thousand people’s lives and lit their hearts on fire. Because God’s active power filled every cell of their bodies and made them capable of miracles in this world.

Because the Holy Spirit never left. It’s among you now.

Sometimes it’s a wind that blows through us. Sometimes it’s an energy that fills us up. Call it gasoline, or an electrical charge, or a roaring fire, or refreshing water—it is all of these things. And it’s something more.

With the power of the Holy Spirit at our disposal we can change lives. It inspires us to new heights, and it gives us the ability to achieve them. You only have to look at this church to see the proof. Ask the Mission Board how many lives you have changed for the better, here and abroad. Look around you at the people in the pews who have suffered in hospital beds, and think about all the prayers and calls and visits, that gave them comfort and healing, and carried them through those dark nights of the soul. And all the prayers and calls and visits that are at work among those who are suffering or grieving right now, in this very moment. Look at the scrapbook Chase made to remember the work that our volunteers have done for struggling families in Guatemala. Eavesdrop on the Sunday School.

And think about the ways that people in this church have impacted just your one life… and multiply that by five, multiply it by… six hundred. Multiply it by three thousand, and maybe then you’ll be scraping the surface of the work this church has done and continues to do by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We transform lives. We perform miracles. The tiny miracles, the beautiful little moments… and the huge transformations that change people’s lives forever.

The people sitting among us today who didn’t feel at home, or accepted, or loved, until they found you. Us.

And the many people out there who couldn’t survive another week on their own, but thanks to a helping hand from us were able to get their lives together and can now stand on their own two feet.

We do all this with the power of God.

We see around us a dark world. A world of fear… selfishness… division and hatred… hopelessness and pain. How could we possibly make a dent in that? How could any one of us do anything to make the world a better place? How could any of us fix this broken world? It’s impossible. It’s a lost cause. We can’t make a difference. It would take a miracle.

But we do. All the time. We change lives, we transform the world. I’ve seen it myself, and how long have i been here? We can bring light to the darkness… and we do. Why do you think this church is still here? Because it’s pretty? Or because for two thousand years Christians like us have been doing miracles in the lives of people who need it the most, and here we are.

We can do miracles. Because the Holy Spirit isn’t far away, something that takes a journey of a thousand footsteps to reach, or a sacrifice, or a trial. The promise of God is that the Holy Spirit is with us here, now, on Earth. Within us. God is still speaking, and God is still doing.

I look at these five Confirmands, and I see seekers. I see curiosity and wonder. I see people who want to know how the world works and why it is the way it is. I see people who are going to be living in that world long after most of us are gone. And I see them discovering, piece by piece, how God is working in their lives.

If all metaphors were perfect, I would say that on this day of Pentecost—where “pente” is Greek for five—as these five youths are about to affirm their baptism and undergo the rite of Confirmation, I would say that the Spirit of God is about to descend upon these pente Confirmands just as it descended upon those three thousand in Jerusalem.

But it isn’t. That metaphor is trash. The Spirit of God isn’t going to descend upon you today. Or any day.

The Spirit of God is within you right now. The power of God is at your fingertips. It has been all along. I’ve seen it. We can spend our entire lives seeking out the feeling of the Spirit of God within us, and maybe you’ve only felt a tickle once, or twice in your lives up to this point. But I can see the Holy Spirit within each one of you, as sure as if you had fire coming out of the top of your heads.

You five… inspire me. If only you knew how hard it was to inspire an old pessimist like me. The way that you look at the world. The way that you treat each other. The way you act, the way you look at God. The ways you look for God. I wish you could see yourselves the way I see you.

You are bright lights. In time, if you work at it, you could be blinding. You could burn the eyes right out of my sockets.

And I can’t wait to see it. I can’t wait to see the way God will transform your lives. What paths you’ll choose and what journeys you’ll walk and what lives you’ll touch. I can’t wait to see all the miracles you’ll do.

Brendan said it perfectly yesterday, today you become Christian citizens.

Today you begin the transformational work of Christ, not only in your lives but in the lives of everyone you meet, every day.

Today you become my sisters, my brothers.

And today, you all become their sisters, and their brothers.

And I can’t wait to see what this family has in store.

Thanks be to God. Amen.