I love this simple chant. It has often become a prayer that has come unbidden to my mind many times since I first heard it. The artist is a woman by the name of Alana Levandoski, a Canadian mom of three, who I believe, is also Anglican.
Anyway, this simple chant seems incredibly relevant to me as we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost. Today is the last day of the great 50 days of Easter, which begins with the miraculous resurrection of Jesus, and ends with Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit. We are all familiar with the wonderful story from the Book of Acts, where flames dance on the heads of the apostles, and people are spoken to in their own languages; it is a wonderfully chaotic time that begins the apostles ministry to the ends of the earth; the are given the Holy Spirit to allow them to preach the gospel of Jesus an to bring good news of the kingdom of God.
I am particularly moved this year by the words of Jesus in John’s gospel this morning. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” I have mentioned before that I love how John’s gospel makes it clear that God the Father, Jesus and now the Holy Spirit, form such a community of holiness and love that they share equally in this world that they have created out of love. The Holy Spirit is given to humanity to help them to live into the reality of the kingdom of God…The Holy Spirit is God’s very love, overflowing and given to us.
So… what do we think about that? What do we think of when we hear the words from our Baptism service, “you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism, and marked as Christ’s own forever”? Do we hear and feel God calling us, and pulling us into life in the kingdom? Or have we let other things get in the way so that we have become deaf to God’s call? Have our lives as baptized people become so routine that we have forgotten just how radical it is? Have we forgotten just how powerful the love of God is?
Let us remember that God so loved the world, that he entered into human history in Jesus so that God could be close to us. Let us remember that in Jesus, God’s nature and human nature were joined together making us children of the living God forever. Let us remember that there is nothing routine about the life that Jesus led. He lived his life so close to God the Father, that there were many who could not handle watching him and listening to him because he was a living reminder to them of how far they had fallen away from God. His life and ministry was so powerful a reminder that they killed him in anger and hatred. They misunderstood his message and couldn’t hear that they were loved. Let us remember that while his body laid in the tomb, Jesus descended to the dead, breaking open the gates of hell so that no one would spend eternity separated from the love presence of God ever again. Let us remember that after his ascension, Jesus has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit that lives in us, and prays in us, and helps us to turn our prayers into actions of love and justice for all people. Let us remember, that we, you and I are heirs of the kingdom of God, and because the Holy Spirit lives in us, that WE are to embody God’s truth, God’s love and God’s peace; we are to continue the work that Jesus began… let. us. remember…
Beloved, the world needs the Spirit of Truth that we have been given. The work of justice and peace and love is not even close to finished. There are children out there who believe that killing other children solves problems; there are children in our own neighborhood who will go to bed hungry tonight; world powers are itching to destroy others while war has raged in other places for years and years; there are people so desperate to escape the evil that has invaded their homeland, that they are willing to risk death to get to somewhere that might give their children a chance to live without fear; political discourse has become so filled with hatred that it does nothing but hurt the least of these… But… Let us remember: This is the world that God loves… imperfect, broken, but loved. This is the world that God has given to you and to me, as God once gave it to Jesus, and God has given us the Holy Spirit to give us the power to love and to act in God’s world. We must become what we receive; each Sunday we gather to receive the body and blood of Christ within our very bodies, reminding us that we are temples of God’s Holy Spirit, and that we are the hands and feet of Jesus in the world… As Paul tells us this morning, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; we are not alone in this work of the kingdom. Let us remember that we have a community of hope that keeps us all accountable, and we have Jesus’ Holy Spirit praying in us and through us… this day, may that Spirit lead us so that our prayers become the actions that will help to bring the kingdom of God to earth, this day, and may it be good news… Come Holy Spirit and be our guide… help us to be the temples that you have created us to be… Help us to become the love that we receive.
(Sing) I become what I receive…