May 17, 2020 | Stories
Hello Concordia Family,
Our text for this week is from John chapter 14:15-21
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
We have been in a season of “What?? NO!”
Over and over, day in, day out news and events that make us shout, “What?? NO!”
I know. I read the news. I listen to the news.
And about now, you are gearing yourself for me, your pastor to dive yet again into the misery and frustration of our present situation. What?? NO!
You can get that anywhere. And….quite frankly from what I am seeing and hearing we all are pretty weighed down and tired of it.
In the wake of “What?? NO!” We want to focus our attention where Jesus focuses the attention of His disciples in the wake of their own What?? NO’s. Let’s focus on “What’s Next”!
Put yourself with the disciples as they sit with Jesus on the night when He is betrayed.
The disciples had been present with Jesus at a number of times, especially recently, that could easily have prompted them to ask, “What’s Next?"
He gave sight to a blind man. “What’s next?”
They had been with Him when He raised Lazarus from the dead. “What’s Next?”
He rode into Jerusalem as if He were a conqueror to shouts and cheers of “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” What’s Next.
He drove money changers from the temple. “What’s Next?”
Then it got personal; He washed their feet.. “What?? NO!”
He tells them He will be going away and their response is something akin to, “What?? NO!”,
He tells them one of them will betray Him. He tells them they cannot go where He is about to go. He tells Peter of his denial. It’s the perfect “What?? NO!” Storm.
You can read this in more detail in John 14 and the following few chapters as well.
And to all of their fears, to all of their uncertainties, he speaks certainty and hope.
He tells them He is sending them another “Helper”. An Advocate. A Comforter. Along with all these descriptive names this one is revealed as His own Holy Spirit.”
His own Holy Spirit guided them through the “What’s Next” of life and the church after the Resurrection of Jesus and His Ascension to Heaven.
His own Holy Spirit guided a man named Paul on great journeys, journeys on which he didn’t know the answer to “What’s Next” but He knew God was with him. Remind you of a time and place…..where people don’t know what’s next but we do know that same Spirit is with us?
It is the same Spirit that was with Paul when he spoke in a place that was overflowing with gods among the Greek people who were so astute as to recognize that even with all their gods, it might be possible for them to have missed one. So they erected an altar “To the unknown god”. Paul stood in that misguided and truly godless Areopagus, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, introduced them to the God who rose from the dead on our behalf of all. He introduced them to Jesus.
His own Holy Spirit is our gift through Baptism.
His own Holy Spirit connects us to the death of Jesus and raises us to new life again. We are the church
If someone had told you in January that we would be confined to home, staying in place and worshipping as we do, your response might have been “What?? NO!”
In His promise to His bewildered disciples to send the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Comforter there is the promise of His presence with us in all our circumstances. As we go forward with lots of questions, among them, “What’s Next” we do so in the sure and certain promise that in whatever is next, God is with us to guide, comfort and help. We have His word on it. The Word of the Word who became flesh to dwell among us, of He who pronounces us forgiven, claims us as brothers and sisters.
As we live wondering (natural to do so) “What’s Next”
We do so in the Love of Him who takes us from “What, NO!!
To what? YES!
What?? Yes….I love you. You are my bride, the church.
You are not made of walls.
You are not an institution.
Church is not something you do
Church is who you are
What?? Yes….I am with you.
Be a help others to see that we are not about going to church.
Be and show others what it means to be the Church
What?? Yes….I am always with you even to the end of the age.
You have me as your Helper, your Comforter, Counselor and Guide
You have my Spirit.
What?? Yes. I am in you and you are in Me!
God keep you in His Peace,