(Homily available on Youtube May 7 https://youtu.be/LCJes_66FFQ)
Jesus disciples are like us in grief, confused and distraught at being separated from Him. The Good News is Jesus’ promise “I am with you always” (Mt.28.20) The Apostle Paul, in his prayer of departure from Corinth prays “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor.13.14) The “you” Paul refers to is the community of believers – and us. Christian churches are to be a community of believers led by and in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and with each other.
The readings help us understand how Jesus continues to be with us through the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit will empower, guide, heal and comfort us as we all go out and “make disciples of all nations.” (Mt. 28.18) We are to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you” and baptize them into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. (v. 20) Paul is explaining how this will be done:
· People will see the love of God reaching out in creation
· Experience forgiveness through the grace of Jesus Christ
· Experience the guiding fellowship of the Holy Spirit
1. Genesis reminds us God reaches out to us through creation
The beauty and order of creation is evidence of a supernatural creator who is powerful and values order. Everyone at some point wonders where we came from and how did we get here? There must be a creator who:
· Is powerful
· Has invisible supernatural powers
· Values order and balance
· Loves us
2. Love reaches out through the grace / forgiveness of Jesus
At about age two we begin to learn that things go wrong in creation. Animals eat other animals and humans get angry and fight. Trying to understand why things go wrong between rational people and nations forced me to read psychology and the Bible and discover how self-deception, spiritual evil and mental strongholds can separate us from God’s presence:
· God had to give us free will so we could chose to love God
· Satan is logically necessary to test our love of God.
· Our natural weakness and supernatural temptation inevitably leads to people rebelling against Gods Law
· God had to give us a way to be forgiven so we could return to fellowship through the grace of Jesus Christ
· Personal experience of supernatural forgiveness makes Jesus real and changes our lives forever
3. Love reaches out through the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
The mission of the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit is to do the work of making disciples. We enter this fellowship through the teaching and discipleship of the fellowship of believers.
· Water Baptism is the outward visible sign of full inclusion in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
· Experiences of the Holy Spirit including love, joy, peace, forgiveness, healing is how Jesus continues to be with us
· As we share and discuss our experiences of Holy Spirit and forgiveness our love relationship with Jesus grows
· Holy Spirit guides us, heals us and comforts us
· We intuitively recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in others and are drawn toward them and into fellowship
· Fellowship of the Holy Spirit meets our basic needs for community, orthodoxy, relevance, teaching and counselling
Fellowship of the Holy Spirit meets the need for relevance, meaning and purpose in our lives as we “ go and make disciples of all nations”.
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