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6 Thank you in advance for your grace and your mercy. Thank you for the opportunity to speak, to speak behind this sacred desk. God you are amazing Joel 2:28-32 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) God’s Spirit Poured Out 28 [a] Then afterward     I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,     your old men shall dream dreams,     and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female slaves,     in those days, I will pour out my spirit. 30 I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 32 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls. John 16:5-15 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate[a] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about[b] sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 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. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. His Biggest Fans! "When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you to into all Truth" John 16:13 The Holy Trinity (C) Proverbs 8:22-31; Psalms 8:4-9; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15 In a New York Times article, a man recalled an amusing incident that took place a few years back when he was working on one of TV’s most popular soap operas, "The Guiding Light" (which ran from 1952 to 2009). A subway strike was in progress so the producers of the "soap" provided a bus to the studio. At one of the stops on the bus’s schedule, an expected rider was nowhere to be seen, but suddenly the driver noticed a man standing on the corner, looking uptown, then downtown, on tiptoe. So the driver got out of the bus, walked up to the man and asked, "Are you looking for The Guiding Light?" The man’s face turned sour. "Look, pal, I have no time for religious fanatics," he grumbled as he backed away to cross the busy street. In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus says to His disciples: "When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth" (Jn. 16:13). And, in his Letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul acknowledges the fulfillment of that promise. "The Love of God," he says, "has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Rom. 5:5). God's love has been poured in to our hearts. And if we are to live the kind of life Christ, our Guiding Light lived, then kindness without expecting anything in return. and good-will and acceptance of giving and receiving hospitality ... caring, sharing understanding. Compassion and forgiveness must become our way of life -- an ongoing, day-by-day living experience. And in so doing, we display that we are followers of Christ and are likely to be regarded by world standards as religious fanatics -- as was Jesus Himself. (There are Gospel episodes in which those closest to Jesus think that He is out of His mind like overturning the money tables!). Indeed, through the Holy Spirit, God's love has been poured into our hearts! But the problem is that many of us come to church and hear this said time-after-time, but nothing much ever seems to happen. And it is probably true that for many of us, the reason nothing seems to happen is that we are overlooking the vital balance which is essential to our life with God. Unless the doors of our lives are opened outward, unless we are in touch with the world around us -- unless we are especially concerned about people who are hurting -- the Holy Spirit somehow gets blocked within us. God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and there it stays. In order to experience God's Loving Presence in the depths of our being, we must take the inner-journey, of course. But if the encounter within is going to have significance for our lives we must take the outward journey as well. The Biblical writers had an experience of God's Loving Presence that was so rich and full and overwhelming that no one word, no one image, no one idea could describe it. They needed three to express the fullness and the richness of God's gift of Himself to them. One God, notice, not three Gods. The doctrine of the Trinity -- the experience of the Trinity -- whatever else it is, is about one God. The Lord our God is one! It was their experience of God in this way that brought the first Christians to life. This is what gave them the strength to know Love as they never had known it before. This experience was the most important thing in their lives -- and it is the most important thing in ours. Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- the perfect triune of Love. The Perfect Model for our human relationships. We are called to image God, Scripture tells us. And to the extent that we learn how to reflect a clear image of our Divine Model, we draw ourselves into closer union with God. Contrary to the prevailing notion in today's world that learning how to make money is what life is all about -- learning how to love is what life is all about. That's why we get up each morning. That's why we bring children into the world. That's why we're here today. And whenever you think of it that way, your mind and heart and soul are imaging the mind and heart and soul of the Lord Jesus. A middle-aged man decided to visit a clinic and undergo a complete health checkup. He told the interviewing doctor that he had always taken good care of himself. He said, "I always make sure that I get enough sleep. I exercise regularly. I don't smoke. I don't drink. I believe in good nutrition. And I take vitamins C, E and B6 every day." Later, after he had been looked over from head-to-toe by a team of specialists and was waiting for his post-examination interview, he accidentally saw the chart containing his medical history recorded in the first interview. In the column labeled, "Abnormalities," the doctor had written, "Health fanatic!" Fanatic is the sort of disparaging label Society pins on persons who accept, at the deepest level of their beings Jesus' criteria for living the "good life." "Fools for Christ" (as the Apostle Paul called them) were regarded in their own time as nuts; fanatics; freaks; crazy visionaries willing to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit the prisoners, clothe the naked, comfort the afflicted! What happened to the New Testament Christians was that when Jesus came into their midst they experienced God in a new, intense way that was so overwhelming, so healing, so fulfilling they couldn't contain it within themselves. They had to get the Good News out to the whole world. What they realized had happened was that God the Father, who loved them so much, was present in His Son -- and His son was actually present in their midst. God, as the Son, was present in their midst as the perfect Model of what human life is all about. And yet they had another experience of God's Presence. Something new had happened . . . Like a wind rushing through they said it was like fire -- warm and vital and alive. They discovered that this experience of God's Presence within them was the one thing that vitalized them. They found it was a cleansing experience. The guilt that some of them were carrying around was removed. They found it was an empowering experience. They were able to stand up before kings and emperors and speak as they had never spoken before. They amazed themselves. Because of the intensity of this experience, the New Testament writers made more than three hundred and fifty references to the Holy Spirit. Consequently we know the Holy Spirit as the Advocate...the Paraclete...the Spirit of Truth...the Giver of Gifts...the Light of Hearts...the Spirit of Power...the Comforter. In today’s Gospel Lesson, Jesus says to His disciples, "When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth" (Jn. 16:13). The truth is that if you are having trouble finding your life's true Guiding Light, remember your history teach your sons and your daugthers encourage them to dream the dreams, to see the visions and make it plain, preach in the media and out of the media . on and know that the Comforter will come. As our Lord's biggest fans, let us go now with a fanatical Spirit of God’s Love pouring out of our hearts -- in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.Amen
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