Sixth Sunday of Easter Lectionary Text
Psalm 67: To the leader: with stringed instruments.
A Psalm. A Song.
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2 that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
6 The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
7 May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.
John 14:23-29: “Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 25 ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”
Sixth Sunday of Easter Comment: I read this quote on a church ‘white’ board. “Our relationship with God is not a special activity but, a constant reality. God is always present with us: It’s a matter of learning to notice.” Unfortunately, I do not know its author.
On many occasions in the Old Testament, we read, “The Spirit of God came upon …” and acted on the hearts and lives of the Israelites for specific activities. For example, the tabernacle was built in the wilderness because “Spirit of God, (filled Bezalel son of Ur ) with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-.” Exodus 31:3. “The Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest ,” warning to the people. 2 Chronicles 24:20. Inspiration was an outward, inward movement upon the individual for a specific time and purpose.
Jesus, the night before he died, promised something new. The Spirit of God, the Advocate will dwell within the heart of the believer.” As the quote states “God is always present with us…a constant reality.” The quote also states, “It’s a matter of learning to notice.” Here lies the heart of the matter. How do we notice the reality of God in our lives? I know many of us recognize God’s intervention when difficult times occur. But how do we detect the minute ‘sensings’, the quite intimate God-touches gives? The best place to begin is to do what Jesus says, “keep my word.” The unwavering theme of Jesus’ ministry was love. It was the reason he came into the world, the reason he died and the reason God raised him from the dead. Therefore, loving opens us up the recognizing the presence of God in us and around us.
Acts 16:9-15: “During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.” Through a dream, God commissioned Paul to take the good news of God’s love to Greece. Later, in a letter Paul defines love. “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always "me first," doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-10
Personally, I believe God uses dreams to communicate to us. However, anytime we find ourselves in position to love someone as described by Paul, we can believe that God is present. It is God with us to empower our minds and wills to persevere, to walk the extra mile, to be slow to speak and ready to listen. It is God in us when we endure the frailties of others and look beyond their faults in order to nurture their potential. It is God pleased with us when we love with a faithfulness that dispels doubt and gentleness that sooths the broken-hearted and self-control that wards off impatience. Lastly, I suggest that practicing gratitude is another way of noticing God. Begin with thanking God for the first breath of the day and continue to give thanks for the offerings placed on the altar of each moment. At the end of a day of appreciation, God will bless with the slumber of peaceful contentment.
©May 4, 2010
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