Sunday, June 30 2019
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25)
Jesus and the disciples have set their sights on Jerusalem. Jerusalem represents the self-giving love of Jesus Christ who died on a cross that we might have life and live it abundantly. I think we often set our sights too low in the church. We are happy to get a few more people in the pews and to be able to pay the bills. We look back at the times when the church was thriving or at times that were difficult instead of looking forward to the cross in Jerusalem. Jesus says that if we are to enter the Kingdom of God, we must look forward. If you are driving a car and look down to text a message or answer your phone, you cannot keep the car straight. Jesus tells us to stop texting and keep our eyes on the road ahead. If we are to give hope to the poor, living water to the thirsty, end racism in this country, and protect our environment for future generations, we need to follow Jesus Christ and to be guided by the Holy Spirit. As Jesus crosses boundaries in the Gospel of Luke, I ask every member at St. John’s to open their minds to the path that Jesus has put before us. Jesus will always bring you across new boundaries to a place where you can never return again to former times. If you are not sure if you are on the path look for the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples to commit their lives fully to God. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). We are called to walk in newness of life, but we have established a pattern of how we live our lives that is very hard to change. Will racism, sexism, poverty, homophobia, bullying, terrorism, domestic violence, and human trafficking end on our present path in the world today? Does the Christian Church live in the fruit of the Spirit and lead the path to a new heaven and earth? The church needs to stop tip toeing and start striding towards the Kingdom of God and put our trust and faith in God.
Today’s Gospel asks us to make a full commitment to Jesus Christ, who gave his life that we might have eternal glory. Last week in my sermon I mentioned that God is always reaching a hand out to us and we need to respond. “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 107). The power of God is working in many ways at St. John’s. Deacon Anthony is approved for ordination to the priesthood, the ECW is working with St. John’s Hospital, the mission trip to Puerto Rico was a total success, the Thrift Shop is thriving, the building repairs look great, the 275th Anniversary Capital Campaign is underway, and our relationship with St. Augustine’s, Brooklyn is being celebrated with Friendship Day today. Please give yourself fully to God and set your sights on Jerusalem.
In Christ’s love,