A quick Joke before I get all serious:
First child to third child babysitting mindsets. With your first child – Your gone 2 hours and you call the babysitter at least 5 times. Second child – You leave your phone number with the babysitter. Third child – You leave strict instructions with the sitter to only call if there’s blood.
Our Gospel has Jesus comforting His disciples before His crucifixion.
My thought process upon hearing today’s Gospel is that my wife is like Jesus. 🙂
The disciples are like babysitters. And I am like the child who needs the babysitter.
My wife is like Jesus in many ways. She saved my life. She helped me to understand love. And when our kids were younger, if we were to go anywhere and use a babysitter my wife will usually leave a detailed list of instructions, emergency info and all needed contact data. She will also review the list with the babysitter before we go. I may tease her about it, but I’ve always been impressed by it. She brings parenting to another level. And to me, today’s Gospel reading reminds me of it.
Jesus is preparing to go away and He’s trusting His disciples to take care of His babies (us).
However, in addition to the detailed instructions, Jesus will also be leaving them with His peace and will also send them the Holy Spirit. That’s babysitting brought to the infinite level!
The Holy Spirit has many definitions in the Bible.
As Wind, as His breath, a Holy Fire, as Tongues of Fire, a Holy Flowing, a bodily form like a Dove, Living and Eternal Water, as A Spirit, His Spirit, As a Ghost, His Ghost.
The Bible states that The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are One. Yet the Holy Spirit is then defined as having a will, mind and personality of its own. Jesus says that the Father and the Son Send The Holy Spirit.
Due to the definitions of the Holy Spirit from the Bible we often have a tough time thinking of The Holy Spirit as a person. But we should. The way that works for me is to think of God the Father as the mind. God the Son as the body and God the Holy Spirit as the soul. Each make up a part of the whole God. ALL JESUS.
Jesus also says that The Holy Spirit will not speak on His own initiative but what It hears. Like our voice saying what our mind thought or thinks. The Holy Spirit will speak the Words of the Father and The Son. The Holy Spirit will speak the Truth and It will bear testimony to The Father and The Son and It will glorify The Father and The Son. As your words coming from your body speak from your thoughts and heart and can reveal your inner truths.
Whatever manifestation The Holy Spirit comes in, He is of God and is one with God. It would be like our voice or our soul taking on a form and interacting with others. Like someone remembering something you said, being moved by it and acting upon it.
The Holy Spirit is an aspect of God designed for you. A personal, intimate emissary to comfort and help you. Your own personal Jesus.
“Personal Jesus” was a song by Depeche Mode inspired by the book Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley. Priscilla describes Elvis as her own “personal Jesus” and that struck a chord with Martin Gore one of the bands founding members. A song about intimate relationships and how quickly off balanced they can become due to how your heart perceives someone compared to the reality of that person.
A human person, whether a loved one, family member or friend can let you down and disappoint you. That’s our limited reality. The reality of the person of Jesus is a WHOLE LOT different.
Jesus says, He is the only Way to God because He is God. Jesus is telling His disciples, “I need to go away for a while, but I will be sending the perfect, divine babysitter.” The disciples are hearing parts of what He is saying but not everything, so He needs to repeat it for them. They’re hearing the rules and the words but have disconnected themselves from the love. And love is the point of what He is saying.
To love God and keep His Word and Commandments so that love and revelation will follow.
The love and revelation isn’t happening as Jesus is speaking with them because they are busy trying to hold Jesus down instead of holding onto His love. They let love settle.
Problem: We disobey, lose focus and lose our identity. We let love settle. We disconnect from God. We focus on the distractions. We forget the love spark.
Point: We are in one life with Jesus. We are in Jesus and He is in Us. Amen! We can only find peace in that understanding.
What is peace? Peace is a feeling. A freedom from disturbance. A calmness. Tranquility. It is also known as friendship, love and harmony. A freedom from fear and violence. These are words but true peace can only be found in God.
What Jesus gives us is peace P-E-A-C-E not piece P-I-E-C-E. God does not give us a piece of Him or a piece of peace. He gives us ALL of Him and an eternity’s worth of PEACE.
We exist in a piece of God’s creation. The Webb telescope will be launched in March of 2021. This telescope is 100 times more powerful than the Hubble. It will be the most powerful infrared telescope and it should be able to see the first galaxies and stars that existed after the Big Bang. BUT it still won’t be able to see ALL of creation just a piece of it.
This is the piece we struggle to understand. Eden was closed. Creation was broken. That’s what our little eyes and minds can perceive, and our great telescopes can see.
As I said earlier, I am like the child who needs the babysitter. I can comprehend my playpen with its wooden bars (no screen) but not what’s beyond that. The babysitters in the form of the disciples once the Holy Spirit has opened their eyes and gives them Holy telescopic vision to see outside our playpens and cribs and outside of the planet. The Holy Spirit sees far. Far, far outside of even the planetary and universal limitations. God can see everything from the finite to the infinite, far outside the knowable and observable universe. He is it, He feels it, He masters it, He loves it and He overshadows it with His glory and His eternal peace.
We should be like John the Baptist while He was still safe inside Elizabeth’s womb. Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant with John when her cousin the virgin Mary visited her and greeted her. Elizabeth was then filled with the Holy Spirit and John leaped inside her womb. John is probably a foot long, just sprouting hairs on his head and weighs approximately one pound and he is wrapped in his mother’s love and then is overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. He leaps with his little baby muscles. This is all from a newly conceived Jesus with plenty of room in the fertilized egg that sits in a single fallopian tube inside His human earth mother Mary.
We should leap for joy every second of every day with The Holy Spirit and The Peace that grown man Jesus with the fullness of God sent out into our world. God gave us ALL of Him. In mind, body and spirit. ALL of God to feel His perfect Peace which is far greater than our little pieces of limited comprehension.
I picture it like chocolate milk. We are the glass of milk. The Holy Spirit is the chocolate syrup being poured in by God’s Grace. Then when we praise Him and rejoice, we get stirred up. Or when we embrace scripture and hear His Holy word. His Grace comes in like a big blender and stirs the Spirit up. He is risen!
Power: Have you ever loved anything? Raise your hand. That is God. We love because He first loved Us.
Ex: “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”
Not: “If you love me you will have to keep my commandments.”
If we are capable of love that is because of God. The is the truth inside of Us. That is our identity as a child of God. We need to allow that truth to consume US. If we love we don’t need to think about the commandments because when we’re stirred up in love we don’t break them. Have you ever felt that love excitement! That nervous giddy anticipation of seeing what you love? You’re all revved up! That’s the Spirit syrup!
We remember our identities as children of God. Children of His Peace! Children of Love!
It’s easy to remember that I am a sinner. We can’t choose who we are born to or where we are born or our circumstances in life BUT God gives us the choice of love through His grace. We are forgiven so do we choose to embrace His grace and stir up our Spirit syrup OR do we choose moments of weakness due to our natural inclination to sinful behavior and let the syrup settle and become a mud base that holds us down?
This makes me think of a Sam Berns, who died at age 17 from progeria. I heard about him from more than one sermon in this church. Progeria is a rare genetic condition that causes a child’s body to age fast. After hearing about him from those sermons many years back, I often look up his video when he appeared on TEDx Talks. The video is his philosophy for a happy life. I took his points and applied some sermon points at the end of each one.
- Don’t focus what you can’t do because there is so much you CAN do. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Think outside the playpen. Me holding the bars.
- Surround yourself with people you want to be around. Go to church.
- Keep moving forward. Grow with God. Stir it up. Shake it out.
- Never miss a party. Make worship your party. You don’t even need to RSVP. God wants to party with you! He brought the chocolate syrup!
Jesus died for every sinner. Jesus died for the sins of ALL creation. How often did we or do we still tell our friends, coworkers, parents and babysitters, “That’s NOT fair!?” How often have we cried out to God, “It’s not fair!?” Or “Why me?” I shake the bars of my playpen and stomp on the flimsy wooden floor, “It’s not fair!” Why me!” “Waaah!”
At the ninth hour on the cross Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus says it better than we ever could. He says it Perfectly. It’s not fair. It is in no way fair. It is not just God; it is a just God. This world and our lives may not seem perfect to us, but God is Just. Life is not fair BUT God is Just! Amen! And what Jesus did and still does for us IS NOT FAIR. IT’S PERFECT. IT’S PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS FULFILLED! IT’S HIS LOVE! IT’S HIS PERFECT PEACE! IT’S HIS GRACE!
Remember that Spirit syrup? It’s all revved eternally up and ready for you!