Seventh Sunday of Easter

The Spirit and the Bride Say Come

Do we hear the call? God calls us. He calls all of us. How do we respond? We might be able to classify how people respond in four ways. There are people who do not hear the call because they do n0t believe there is a  God. But this thinking ignores all reality. The Apostle Paul wrote:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been seen and understood through the things God has made. So they are without excuse, for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless hearts were darkened.   (Romans 1:18-21)

There are people who believe that there is a God, but are not aware of his call because of the many distractions that Satan has devised to misdirect them. God is calling but we must understand that what we are currently seeking is not fulfilling our to our souls.

Then there are those who do hear the call of God, but have trouble answering that his call. This is the sad part. They do not fell worthy to receive from God. God is a giving God. He is  loving God. They believe that he is, but they are unworthy because of their sinful lives. Scripture tells us that we have all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).

The last category is that people think that they are worthy. No, that category does not exist. No one is worthy. The price for sin has to be paid. This brings us all to one hope. God will accept us if we believe he has paid the price of sin for us. On a cruel cross, Jesus, the Son of God, died in our place to pay the price. We read in Isaiah:

But he was wounded for our transgressions,
    crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
    and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.   (Isaiah 53:5-6)

In the Book of Acts today we read about s jailer who heard God’s call: Paul and Silas had beeb put in prison for spreading the Gospel of Jesus:

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.   (Acts 16:25-26)

We sure never overlook the power of praise in our prayers.

When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.   (Acts 16:27-29)

The jailer was aware that there was an act of God that opened the prison doors. His question to Paul and Silas reveals that he has heard God’s call on his life:

Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.   (Acts 16:30-34)

The jailer knew that he needed God’s help. He wanted to answer God’s call and he realized the cross was the only way.

God is calling us to salvation. He is also calling us to a deeper relationship with him. In today’s Gospel we read:

Jesus prayed for his disciples, and then he said. “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.   (John 17:20-24)

Jesus prayed for his disciples. He also prayed for us. He prayed that we might be one with him and God the Father. He is calling us to such an intimate relationship. How do we respond?

We need to accept his gift of the Holy Spirit. From the Gospel of John we read:

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart[j] shall flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive, for as yet there was no Spirit[k] because Jesus was not yet glorified.   (John 7:37-39)

The gift is by invitation. Jesus purchased the price of this gift by the cross so that he forgive us and purify us. We must receive his invitation. We must respond to his call.

Jesus gift is through his Church, the Bride of Christ. To receive this gift we must become part of his Church. And we must be thirsty for his  gift. How thirsty are we? The more we thirst, the more we receive.

Do we hear the deep call of God on our lives? Reading from the Book of Revelation:

“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.   (Revelation 22:16-17)

The gift of God is an eternal life in deep, intimate, relationship with him. That life begins now. That life begins today. Aman.

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Filed under Easter, homily, Jesus, lectionary, liturgical preaching, liturgy, preaching, Revised Common Lectionary, sermon, sermon development, Year C

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