O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles.
The heterosexual believers who had come with +Katharine Jefferts Schori or +Frank Griswold or +Edmund Browning or once-upon-a-time ++Rowan….were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered.
Then Peter said, "Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"
Sing to the LORD a new song, *for he has done marvelous things.
A chief delight in this psalm is the animation of creation to create the new song.
Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it, *the lands and those who dwell therein.
Let the rivers clap their hands, *and let the hills ring out with joy before the LORD,when he comes to judge the earth.
All this is accompaniment to the main prize: “In righteousness shall he judge the world and the peoples with equity.”
You treat God right; you treat your neighbor right. God will treat you right. It’s a deal.
1 John 5:1-6
John stresses, as St. Paul is to do even more radically, that our obedience is a response to God’s love, not a condition we must meet to make God love us. He already has. That's why we want to obey.
Jesus introduced a new commandment, superseding all others: that we love one another. What does that love look like?
Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles, was once a player for the Denver Broncos. Afterwards, he became a policeman. One day on his beat he witnessed a gang shooting in which a 14-year-old killed a 12-year old at point blank range. To Officer Bruno fell the awesome task of telling the victim’s mother. The murderer was not apprehended.
Fast forward a few years. Officer Bruno, is in the same town but now is Father Jon Bruno. The victim’s mother is in his parish.
One night, a young man knocks persistently on Bruno’s door. “Father,” he says, “I must talk with you."
The young man pours out his heart saying that he cannot live with himself, that years earlier he killed a boy at point blank range. Take me to jail, Father," he said.
“First,” Bruno replied, “you must go with me to meet your victim’s mother.”
When they arrive, she greets her rector and the young man and serves them some cookies and tea. Sensing something very serious, she says, “I know that you two did not come just to have tea and cookies with an old lady. What is this about?”
Father Bruno signals to the young man to sit opposite the mother where they are eye-to-eye.
The young man can hardly speak as through tears he tells her what he did. ‘I know that you can’t possibly forgive me, but I want you to know that I am so, so sorry,’ he says. ‘I cannot live with myself, and I have asked Father to take me to jail.’
The old woman stood and went to the window. "It seemed like forever," Bruno said when he told this story. Then she came back and again sat opposite, eye to eye with the young man.
“Young man, you are not going to jail. There is only one thing that you have to do.”
Incredulous, he responded, “What’s that?”
“You have to become my son.”
I believe in the Holy Spirit. I have seen the Holy Spirit happen