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Symphony of Life

Receive the Holy Spirit
Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1,24,29-31,34; I Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13; John 20:19-23

Sermon Week Pentecost Sunday Cycle C

Scripture Summary John 20:22

In one of his novels, E.M. Forster gives us an emotional interpretation of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. He describes, in rather frightening terms, how the music gives one the eerie feeling that there are shadowy, sinister goblins roaming all over the earth. And then, in a burst of beautiful music, one hears them swept away - - and the earth seems bright and clean once more. But, suddenly, it happens again: the goblins are back, and the feeling is that this time they are really going to exercise their evil power and take over the world. Again, in a wave of beautiful music, they are swept away. Then the symphony ends joyously, on a high note, as the goblins completely disappear.

We all experience those spiritual and emotional ups and downs, highs, and lows, in our individual symphony of life. The shadowy goblin of death comes roaming around, and we’re feeling mighty low. Then something wonderful breaks through to sweep that goblin away, and our life seems bright and clean. But deep down inside, we know the goblins will be back -- and we’re afraid.

There is a “Peanuts” cartoon in which little Linus is afraid to go to the library. Charlie Brown tries to relieve him of his fear, saying, “Everyone is lonely in one place or another.” Linus asks Charlie, “Where is that place for you.” Charlie answers, “Earth.”

Charlie Brown answers for us all. Who among us has not felt that awful feeling that our big wide world is a fearful place; that there is nowhere to go for relief? Can any of us claim exemption from the spiritual and emotional ups and downs, highs, and lows, in our individual symphony of life?

In today's Gospel Lesson, it is the evening of the first Easter Sunday. The terrified Apostles are hiding behind closed doors. They fear for their lives. Jesus has been crucified. They worry that they'll be next; that Jesus' enemies are coming. But their fear-and-trembling is misguided because Jesus is coming!

"The doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews," the Apostle [...]


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