Check Your Watch, Watch the Time, Claim the Name

Pentecost! All together! Sound from heaven like a mighty wind! The whole house filled with it! Tongues like fire, on every one of them! The Holy Spirit, spreading like wildfire, loosing their tongues to speak with one another like they never could before! To Jews from Jerusalem, and the world-over! How they came together, bewildered! How could these Galileans be speaking their language… and telling the mighty works of God?! They wondered. A few thought them drunk! But Peter finally stood up, “It’s barely noon,” he said. “This isn’t just some Happy Hour! What that old prophet Joel told you is here, right before your eyes! ‘At the last, says God, I’ll pour out my Spirit on you all! Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. Your young ‘see visions, your old ‘dream dreams! I’ll show you wonders in heaven above and signs on the earth beneath. Heaven and all-hell will both break loose! The sun, dark; the moon blood red before MY day comes, that great, revealing day. And whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Acts 2: 1-21, Contemporary KH

It’s OK. It’s Pentecost. It’s your birthday! And you’ve got permission to check your watch in church! Today’s the day to check your watch, watch the Time and claim the Name… of Jesus!

Do check your watch. Be sure it’s set right. Set your watch for GOD’s time. ‘Cause that’s what we’re on, now that God has poured out God’s Spirit in the name of Jesus, once crucified, yes, but now alive, and up from the grave! This day tells us. You and I are living in the days when God has busted loose! The Spirit’s broken out. And from now on, our time is not our own. We and our time alike belong to God in Jesus Christ!  Don’t miss this, we’re gathered here today to say that we’ve got a new agenda. Check your watch. It’s never too early or too late to be called as a servant of Christ. In every service here today, somebody’s sayin’ count me in. It’s my time to follow Jesus.  IS THIS YOUR TIME? The youngest of us, a babe in arms, less than a year old. The eldest 94! One way or other, with starts and stops along the way, we’ve come from around the corner; from Ghana, Australia, China, Germany; from North Carolina, North Dakota, and back from Zimbabwe!

And today we’re here as they were there, way back in Jerusalem, all speaking one language, in fact one name: Jesus, Jesus, JESUS! Check your watch! Is this your moment? Never too early or late! I’m reminded of a line from Dag Hammarskjöld’s journal, Markings. Pentecost, he writes. Then, “I do not remember who or what put the question. I do not even remember when it was put. I only know that at some moment I did answer yes [to something or someone] and from that moment on my life, in surrender has a goal, a meaning!” [Q fr. mem.] Jesus is asking. Is this your moment? Check your watch. Note the time!

Watch the time! Peter did. When the folks thought these believers were into spirits, shall we say, & I don’t mean holy, Peter knew it was his time. Finally, 3 denials & a run to the empty tomb later; after seeing Jesus raised, even heaven-returned: Peter finally got it! “It’s my time to speak up for Jesus! I dare not miss my chance! It’s barely noon. This isn’t Happy Hour! It’s God’s promise come true. God, pouring out the Spirit! Time for prophesies, visions, dreams!”

What Peter learned on Pentecost, we need to. No time to waste. Do not waste or overlook any opportunity to spread the word. People all over are hungry. Souls and stomachs alike. Our job’s to make any time, every hour, supper time! [“Nancy” can barely hear. But when we asked 20 folks Friday, “What brings you to church, why come?” she spoke up 1st. “To help others,” she said, “and help them know/see Jesus!” Nancy gets it!] Don’t you miss it. Watch the time! Waste none. Tell every child and youth. “You belong to God. Your very body, God’s temple. Be careful what you do with it!” It’s urgent. Outta-work folks (& we got ‘em) need to know they’re not outta God’s sight. 2/3’s of our neighbors in 5 miles: no church, some, no faith. Miss no chance. It’s time! 1 new member young mom said she found us this way. “I saw all those folks on the lawn 1 Sunday, and all the kids. And I knew. That’s where I want our family!” And you thought it was just a picnic! Not! All we do is a witness. And that’s before we reach out to the wider world. Watch the time! Peter did. Don’t miss your chance to be a Christ-ian, a Little Christ. That’s what it means. And you’ve signed on!

It’s time. Claim the name. Always make clear to whom you belong. After all, you’ve seen the Son…. And so you’ve seen the Father! This is our experience. It’s our claim. It’s our call. O, we mighta heard it in contemporary language, but it is what Peter said and saw, “Heaven and all-hell breakin’ loose in our day! Right before our eyes. The sun, dark; the moon blood red. Ours is a time of God’s revealing.” And we have good news. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Let what was said then be said now. Here. Today. “Those who received his word were baptized. Many the souls, added to Christ. And they devoted themselves to The Teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers.  And awe came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through them.”

Check your watch, watch the time, claim The Name.

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