Sixth Sunday of Easter
John 14:15-21 (NRSV)
Christ our advocate
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
"I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them."
Today is the Sixth Sunday in the Easter Season! Isn’t it awesome that six weeks after the malls, television commercials and drug stores have forgotten all about Easter, we are still proclaiming, “Alleluia, He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!”
There’s just something wonderful about the good news proclamation that Jesus is not dead, but he is risen, just as he promised.
This good news sets joy bells ringing in our hearts and fills us to overflowing with the unconditional love, ridiculous joy, and preposterous peace that is ours as a gift from the Holy Spirit.
As we live and move and have our being in Spirit, we find that Jesus’ words are true, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
As human beings, we are aware of the fact that we are tragically flawed. We have a terminal disease or DIS-EASE called sin. Were it not for the unconditional love of God and Amazing Grace that gave Jesus to die on the cross to make atonement for our sin and gift us with eternal life, we would surely perish.
But, because of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on an old rugged cross, you and I are set free to live resurrection lives—full of the Holy Spirit—who acts as an Advocate, Teacher, and Guide on this path called Life.
Since we love Jesus, we trust the Holy Spirit to speak softly in our ears, advocating for the Kingdom of Love and teaching us how to be citizens of the same.
Jesus said that the greatest commandments are these, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.”
As we allow the Spirit of Truth to abide in us, Jesus goes to work in our minds, bodies, and spirits, teaching us how to be his hands, feet, and mouth in a world that so desperately needs him.
Isn’t it incredible that Jesus abides in God the Father and that their Spirit abides in us?
It is the most miraculous gift that the Spirit of God abides within each of us. Inside of our hearts and souls is a spark of The Divine, The Eternal, The Three-in-One.
This spark, this light, this power, enables us to do exceedingly and abundantly more that we could ever think, dream, do or imagine on our own.
Because Jesus lives, we live also. We live full of his love, joy, peace, and forgiveness, equipped and empowered to share God’s love with others.
I love Jesus’ words, “I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Every single day I pray with all of my heart that Jesus would reveal himself TO me and then THROUGH me as I serve others to the best of my God-given ability.
Now I am aware that each of us is the recipient of one or more natural and/or spiritual gifts. These gifts are the means by which we share the good news about Jesus with others. They are the means by which Jesus’ love reaches out of His heart, into ours, and then into the hearts and lives of others!
Recently I was listening to my son sing, “This Little Light of Mine.” Just his singing, was a gift from God as he boldly crooned, “This Little Light of Mine, I’m gonna le-le shine. Hide it under the Bishop, No! I’m gonna to le-le shine. Jesus did pee-pee! I’m going to le-le it shine…Le-le shine, Le-le shine, Le-le shine!”
For those of you who don’t speak 3yearold-ese those verses were Hide it under a bushel, No! I’m going to let it shine! and Jesus gave it to me! I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.
My son’s little rendition reminded me that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but he does expect us to bear witness to the truth, to the best of our ability, and with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength!
So, I ask you today. Do you love our Jesus? I know you do!
And so, let us hear the words of our Lord and brother. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
How shall we keep his commandments? By loving God and loving all of our neighbors as ourselves.
There are as many ways to share God’s love as there are people in this room. I can’t begin to tell you how the Holy Spirit will choose to work in you to tell God’s love story to others.
Maybe you will volunteer at a hospital or nursing home. Maybe you will read books to elementary school students or coach little league. Maybe you will sew quilts or serve meals to the hungry or grieving. Maybe you will build houses or serve the homeless in a myriad of ways. Maybe you will offer a listening ear or teach Sunday school next year. Maybe you will just work at being the best mama, daddy, grandmother, or grandfather a child could ever have!
I don’t know a lot, but here’s what I know for sure. Since we are all living and breathing, God has a strong desire to share His story through our very lives. He has placed the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the means by which Jesus shines through us and reveals himself to others.
All we are required to do is wake up each morning ready—and willing--to be Jesus’ hands, feet, and smile in the lives of others.
It is my prayer that our love for God will cause us to keep his commandments. It is my prayer that we will love God and others every single day in the unique ways that God has given us to share His story and His light with others. And it is my prayer that as we allow LOVE and LIGHT to shine out of us and into the lives of others the Kingdom of God will be enlarged, along with our local church family.
I pray this in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @ http://bit.ly/JVhaLta