Take My Life and Let It Be

Text: Romans 6:12-23

Grace, mercy, and peace to each of you from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Don’t close your hymnals! If you already closed your hymnal open it up again to hymn number 783 “Take My Life and Let It Be.” Sometimes a hymn can say things about our readings more clearly and succinctly than I ever could. Today is one of those days and we will use hymn 783 to help us understand what our epistle reading today is talking about in just a few minutes. Keep it open to 783. (If you are reading this after the fact the words to the hymn are printed in the text of the sermon)

Our epistle reading this morning is an important reading for us to consider. In these verses from his letter to the Romans the apostle Paul is talking about our new lives as Christians. He talks about how we have been brought from death to life by the death and resurrection of Jesus, how we have been raised up already right now to live and new life. This is the encouragement he has for us as we seek to live out this new life that God has given to us: “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” As new people, people who have been brought from death to life, Paul calls on us not to “present ourselves to sin” and encourages us instead to “present ourselves to God.”

That phrase, “present yourself…” is not part of how we normally speak in modern day English. The word there means to present yourself for service. The idea is something like “Reporting for duty.” Paul is telling us here to “report for duty” to God and not to sin. God is our master, not sin. We are to present our lives and everything in them to God in order to serve Him in righteousness rather than presenting our lives and everything in them to sin in order to serve sin and unrighteousness.

The first thing that might surprise us here is that Paul only presents two options. We might expect a third option, something kind of neutral. There is the good choice to serve God, there is the bad choice to serve sin, and we would expect there to be something in the middle that isn’t good or bad, but that is not what Paul says. There are two options and two options only. Either we serve God or we serve sin.

The obvious choice is to serve God. That is what we want to do and that is what Paul says we should do. The next thing we need to figure out is what that looks like. What does presenting everything that we are and have to God for His service look like? That is where hymn 783 can help us out.

Let’s look at just the first verse for now. “Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee; Take my moments and my days, let them flow with ceaseless praise. The first half of that verse lays out this whole idea. “Take my life and let it be…” With those words we are offering our lives and everything that is in them to God and His service. The second half of the verse is where we start to see what that looks like.

“Take my moments and my days, let the flow with ceaseless praise.” So what is it that we are presenting to God here? Our moments and our days. Our time. We serve God with our time by offering up our moments and days to His service. Serving God with our time doesn’t just meaning doing stuff at church. This is not a plea for you to all volunteer more hours at church. Serving God with our time means simple things like praying, reading our Bibles, talking to friends and neighbours who are suffering in some way, spending time with those who need our love and care. It means using our time to give praise and honor to God. This is part of our new lives as Christians presenting ourselves to God for His service.

How about verse two of the hymn: “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love; take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.” What are we presenting to God here? This time it is our hands and feet. Our actual physical bodies. We offer our hands to God to do the work of His love in this world. To work to provide the needs of others. To show love through the work of our hands. We also offer our feet to carry us out into the world to tell of His love. “How beautiful on the mountain are the feet of Him who brings good news!” the prophet Isaiah once said. Here we offer our feet as “beautiful feet” that bring the good news of Jesus to those trapped in sin. This too is part of our new lives as Christians.

Now for verse three: Take my voice and let me sing always only for my King. Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.” What part of our lives do we present to God with these words? Our mouths. Our words. Our voices. “Let me sing always, only for my King!” “Let my mouth be filled with messages from You!” Presenting ourselves to God means presenting our words to God for His service. Our words build up, encourage, and proclaim the message from God that sinners are forgiven, that we are forgiven, for Jesus sake.

Now verse four. “Take my silver and my gold not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt chose.” Silver and gold. Money. Possessions. Stuff. That is what we present to God here. Not a mite, not a penny, not a cent would I withhold. Like the time one, this is not a plea for you to give more money to church. Our giving is much more than that. In our new lives as Christians we give to the church to extend the Kingdom of God, but we also give to those in need understanding that whatever we have has been given to us from above. Our money, possessions, and stuff is a gift meant to be used in the service of God and our neighbour.

In just those first four verses we get a pretty good idea what it means to present “ourselves and our members” to God for His service. It covers pretty much everything. But as we think about this more one thing remains glaringly obvious: we can’t do it. We can’t follow through on this, we can’t serve God with everything we have. Sin always hold something back.

Do we really, willingly commit our time to God and His word or do our busy schedules get in the way? Do we really allow our hands and feet, our bodies in general, to be used for God’s glory or do we use them for our own glory? Do we really use our words to proclaim God’s goodness or do we use our words to tear down others and lift up ourselves? Do we really offer up everything that we have, holding back nothing, to serve God and our neighbour?

The answer to all of these questions is no, we don’t. Instead of presenting ourselves to God for serving and serving Him only we often serve ourselves and present ourselves to sin “ready for service.” Sin always hold back.

Thanks be to God that He does not hold back. Though we are unable to serve Him with all that we are and have He has served us with everything. God did not hold back, but gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. In Jesus God did not hold back but gave the fullness of Himself to us so save us from our own sinfulness.

Jesus said, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Though we often fall short, though we regularly hold back, though we daily serve our sinful selves rather than serving God, Jesus has come to serve us in His death and resurrection. He died serving us. He rose from the dead serving us. Today as we come to the altar and receive His body and blood Jesus is serving us again with His forgiveness. He serves us with life everlasting, life that never ends.

 “Take my heart it is Thine own,” verse five says of the hymn says, “it shall be Thy royal throne.” This is the only part of this hymn that I would change. This verse makes it sound like we give our hearts to Jesus. The problem with that is that our hearts aren’t worth giving to Jesus. Our hearts can’t serve Jesus, sin holds us back. Our hearts are like a rust tin can, not worth anything. We don’t give them to Jesus, but Jesus comes along and takes that rusty tin can at the side of the road, pierces it through, takes it home, and makes it into something beautiful and useful: a forgiven heart that serves Him in love forever.

It is Jesus who does this, not us. He presents us to God for His service now and He will present us, perfect, holy, blameless, righteous, and godly, to our Father in Heaven on the day when He comes again to judge the living and the dead.

Let us pray using the words of verse six from the hymn: “Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store; take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee.” In Jesus name. Amen.

The Kingdom at Hand

Text: Matthew 9:35-10:8

Grace, mercy, and peace to each of you from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

When Jesus sent out His twelve apostles in our Gospel reading today He told them to preach this message: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is the same message that John the Baptist proclaimed out in the wilderness as he prepared the way for the coming saviour and it is the same message that Jesus preached as He set out to begin His ministry of teaching and healing. Now, as Jesus sends out His twelve closest followers He gives them this same message to proclaim, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

I love that message and I love hearing it echo through the teaching of John the Baptist, Jesus, and His disciples. I love it because of the immediacy that it brings. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, it is here right now, it is breaking into the world as we speak. It’s immediate.

For a number of months now we have had events coming up in our house that were a source of great anticipation. First, it was Olivia’s birth. For a while there Leah and I were fielding questions daily like “Is the baby coming today?” Then, after Olivia was born, the anticipation started building for her baptism because grandpa from Alberta was coming. For weeks we got asked, “Is Olivia getting baptised today?” or “Is grandpa coming today?” Then, the day after Olivia’s baptism it was Leah’s birthday. Once the kids figured that out it became, “Is it mommy’s birthday today?” Each time those questions were asked the answer was almost always “No, not today.” Then we would have to go over the number of sleeps or the number of days or review the days of the week in order to put the time of waiting into perspective.

I wonder, sometimes, if our life at Christians starts to feel that way too, like we are always waiting for and anticipating something that never seems to be happening today. Our eyes can get so fixed on what its down the road that we don’t see what is happening right here and right now. This is the great thing about the message that Jesus gives to His disciples as He sends them out, it is right here and right now, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The kingdom of heaven is wherever Jesus is. When Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem the kingdom of heaven was there. When Jesus was baptised in the Jordan River the kingdom of heaven was there. When Jesus taught people, healed the sick, and raised the dead the kingdom of heaven was there. When Jesus was handed over to the chief priests, Pontius Pilate, and was led away to be crucified the kingdom of heaven was there. When He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven the kingdom of heaven was there. And now, when Jesus comes to us in bread and wine in Holy Communion, when we hear and read His Words, the kingdom of heaven is here. Where ever Jesus is the kingdom of God is there and powers of sin, death, and darkness can’t exist in that kingdom.

When Jesus sent out the twelve this is the message that they carried with them. They went out into a world that was trapped under a very different kind of kingdom, the kingdom of death. Our epistle reading today said that “death reigned from Adam to Moses.” Beginning with Adam the kingdom of death took hold of this world and all the people in it. Adam sinned, and the reign of death began. Every man and woman after Adam including you and me sinned and the reign of death spread. Like a thick, gray fog, death covered over all people surrounding them with the hopelessness that comes from knowing that death is inevitable and there is nothing that we can do to avoid it. Generation after generation everyone’s life story ended the same way, “and he died.” From Adam to Moses and the people of Israel right on down to today the story remains the same. The kingdom of death surrounds us on all sides.

Into this dismal picture the disciples go out with this message, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Into the darkness of the kingdom of death they shout the good news that there is a new kingdom on the scene, a new way of life available to mankind, a new hope for those in the valley of the shadow of death: Jesus Himself, the kingdom of heaven. The Son of God has entered into our human flesh, put himself under the reign of death, and even allowed Himself to be put to death in order to destroy death forever by burst forth from the grave on the third day. On Easter the kingdom of death was put on notice, it no longer could hold mankind in prison forever.

The kingdom of heaven is at hand and you and me, we live in this kingdom now. We live in the kingdom of heaven now. Death is still a thing, it is still a reality for everyone in this world, but it has no power over you. Death reigned from Adam to Moses and death kept of reigning after Moses. But after Jesus death does not reign over you anymore. The devil, the prince of the kingdom of death, makes some bold claims and tries to convince you that he has some kind of power over you. He wants you to think that death is an unavoidable fate that you have to somehow try to avoid. He wants you to be afraid. But it is all a lie. You live in the kingdom of heaven now. You live in Jesus now. You have eternal life now. Death is not a fearful enemy waiting for you at the end of your life, for you death is a peaceful rest until the day when Jesus comes again to raise up your body from the ground. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, it is here right now, you are living in it, and in that kingdom death has no power.

Understanding this, understanding that the kingdom of heaven is at hand and that we live in it right now as Christians who trust in Jesus for salvation, changes how we see the world around us and especially people who don’t know about the kingdom of heaven. The world around us and the people in it are not just people going about their everyday lives and minding their own business. They are people who are living in the kingdom of death and don’t know that Jesus has brought the kingdom of heaven to us right here, right now by His death on the cross. They are dying in the kingdom of death without any hope. The last verse of the hymn we just sand before the sermon hits it on the head:

Let none hear you idly saying,
“There is nothing I can do,”
While the multitudes are dying
And the master calls for you.
Take the task he gives you gladly;
Let his work your pleasure be.
Answer quickly when he calls you,
“Here am I. Send me, send me!”

The multitudes, the people of the world trapped in the kingdom of death, are dying without the hope that we have in the kingdom of heaven!

What do we do about that? How do we bring the kingdom of heaven to the multitudes that are dying? Well the disciples were sent out by Jesus to bring the kingdom to the world. Jesus gave them authority to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons. Is that what it’s going to take? No, not really. Jesus gave the disciples the authority and power to do those things, but not us. We can’t do that stuff. Instead our task is much simpler, we point people to Jesus. Ultimately, it is Jesus who heals the sick, raises the dead, cleanses lepers, and casts out demons. It is Jesus who brings the kingdom of heaven to people. Jesus gathers people into His kingdom where where the sick are healed forever, where the dead are raised to life everlasting, where the lepers are cleansed permanently, and where there are no more demons or evil things to afflict or harm us. All we do is point people to Jesus and the kingdom that He brings.

A lot of people think that Christianity and the Bible doesn’t have much to say that is relevant to the world today. Maybe we are tempted to think that too. Jesus begs to differ. Jesus brings His Kingdom to you today. He rescues you from death today. He gives you life everlasting today. If you ask, “Is the Kingdom of God coming to me today?” the answer is “Yes, it has come to you today and will be yours forever. It’s here right now. In Jesus name. Amen.

Disciples of the Triune God

Text: Matthew 28:16-20

Grace, mercy, and peace to each of you from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

There is a wonderful parallel between our Old Testament reading today and our Gospel reading. In our Old Testament reading we heard how God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them, the dry land, every green thing that grows on the earth, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, and, of course, people. God made man, human beings, “male and female He created them” it says in Genesis 1. The details of God creating people comes out in Genesis chapter 2, but before getting to that one other important detail comes out. God says to Adam and Eve, the man and the woman He has created, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

Then, in our Gospel reading today from Matthew 28 we hear words from Jesus shortly before He ascends into heaven. After He rose from the dead He told His the women at the tomb to tell the disciples to meet Him in Galilee. Well they went to Galilee and so did Jesus. He appeared to them on the top of a mountain and He said these words to them, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

On the surface these two Biblical stories might not seem to have much in common, but there is a parallel here. In Genesis 1 God spoke to Adam and Eve and told them to have children, reproduce, fill the world with human beings. In Matthew 28 Jesus tells His disciples something very similar. He tells them to make disciples.

If we hold up these two Bible verses side by side it can help us get a better understanding of what they are both saying. (In general this is a great way to read the Bible especially when we run into tricky parts we don’t understand. Let the Bible explain itself!)

If we look that these two verses together we will get a better understanding of what Jesus means in Matthew 28. Often times those words from Matthew 28 are called the “great commission.” Jesus is commissioning His disciples, sending them out, to make more disciples. This passage gets thought about as a command, something that God has commanded us to do. There is some truth to that, this is something that God has commanded us to do. Ignoring that command and doing nothing would not be right. But, there is more happening here than God commanding us to do something.

In Genesis 1 when God said “be fruitful and multiply” was that a command or a blessing? God certainly used commanding sounding language (“be fruitful”… not “if you want/feel like it be fruitful…”) but is this actually a command? No, it’s not. It is a blessing. It says so right there in verse 28, “God blessed them,” it says, “and God said to them be fruitful and multiply…” These words are a blessing, a blessing bestowed on humanity that they are given the ability to have children, to pass on a little bit of themselves to future generations.

So, with that in mind, when Jesus says “Go and make disciples…” is it really a commandment or a blessing? In the same way that God blessed humanity with the ability to have children, Jesus is blessing His disciples here with the ability to create more disciples.

The first blessing that we have here is that we are blessed with the ability to share our faith with other people. This is not a burden that should wear us down or an obligation that hangs over our heads and discourages us. As disciples of Jesus we have the opportunity to make more disciples. Whether it is our own children, our friends, our co-workers, or anyone else we all have Jesus blessing to share what we believe with them.

The second blessing here is that Jesus has blessed us with the ability to become His disciples ourselves. You and I we are disciples of Jesus and disciples of the Triune God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit when we were baptised. We are His disciples, His followers, His students, His sheep, His people. We are His. Baptism makes people, ordinary people like you and me, into disciples of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We saw this very thing happen right before our very eyes as Olivia joined the ranks of the disciples of Jesus standing there alongside each and every one of us who has been made into a disciple by baptism into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It may seem ridiculous that an infant as small as that could somehow be a disciple or follower of Jesus, she can’t speak, stand, or even hold her own head up, but that is what our God has done. He has made her, and the rest of us, His disciples through the water of baptism.

We seriously underestimate what a blessing it really is to be a disciple of Jesus. We take it for granted all the time. But, again, if we hold up what God says in Genesis 1 beside what Jesus says in Matthew 28 we will see what a tremendous blessing this is.

God formed Adam and Eve and the rest of us in order to be in a relationship with us. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. They were His people and He was their God. You could even say they were the first disciples. God openly invited Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, have children, make more disciples. But we know things in the Garden of Eden did not stay “very good.” Adam and Eve sinned. And then, when they were fruitful and multiplied, their children killed each other. By the time of Noah, God was sorry that He had created these people altogether. We know what happened in that story. And yet, God was not done with people.

God the Father would send the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to once and for all restore His creation to what it was meant to be, to bring back these lost and wayward creatures (you and me!) into a relationship with Him. By His death on the cross and rising from the tomb that is what this Son has done for us. As Jesus stood there on the mountain and said, “Go and make disciples…” the work was complete, the relationship was restored and now the good news could go out to all the earth. With these words we see that God desires all people to be His disciples the way that Adam and Eve were in the beginning and He has made that possible for all people. Through baptism, through the teaching of His Word, He makes more disciples. Through baptism and through His Word He makes us disciples.

For me this brings to mind the words of Psalm 8. Psalm 8 says,

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
                what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

 

Compared to the rest of creation, the world, the stars, the moon, and everything else, human beings seem pretty puny and insignificant. That alone might make us ask God, “What is man that you are mindful of him and care for him?” But there is still more to it than that. Puny, insignificant human beings like us are also rebellious, violent, and evil. By all rights God ought to not care about us at all because most of the time we don’t care about Him at all. And yet, despite our wickedness, despite our sin, our God is mindful of us, He cares for us, He sent His Son to die for us.

You are a disciple, a follower, a student, a friend, a child of the Most High God, the creator of the universe, the sustainer of everything that exists, the Saviour of mankind, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

On Trinity Sunday we rejoice and marvel at the incomprehensible nature of God. Three in one and one in three. That is indeed a great mystery. Just as great, however, is the mystery of this God’s love for us. Though we are by no means worthy or fit, He has blessed us by making us His disciples.

Living Water for You

Text: John 7:37-39

Grace, mercy, and peace to each of you from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

To be honest, when I think of Pentecost this is not exactly the kind of Scripture reading that comes to mind. When we think of Pentecost we think more about fire than we do about water. Fire is what appears over the heads of the disciples, not water. The altar paraments are red today because of the fire theme. Not much about Pentecost reminds us of water. But, in our Gospel reading today that is where Jesus takes us. We might not think of the Holy Spirit right away when we hear Jesus talking about this “living water,” but John tells us here that Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit.

This reading is helpful for us on Pentecost because it helps us think about who the Holy Spirit is for. We could very easily read the Pentecost story from Acts 2 and feel like it really has nothing to do with us. Have any of those things that happened in Acts 2 ever happened to you? Has your home ever been filled with a loud rushing wind caused by the Holy Spirit? I doubt it. Have you ever had tongues of fire appear over your head and stay there? Doubt it again. Have you ever started speaking languages that you don’t even know while telling people the good news that Jesus has risen from the dead to win salvation for everyone who believes in Him? Again, I doubt it. These things have never happened to you and probably never will happen to you. Does that mean that the Holy Spirit is not for you? Absolutely not.

The beauty of what Jesus says in our Gospel reading today is that it makes it abundantly clear that these kinds of things don’t need to happen to you. Jesus lays out for us very clearly who the Holy Spirit is for. “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink,” Jesus says. If anyone is thirsty let him come, Jesus says, and out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. Anyone who is thirsty, that is who the Holy Spirit is for. If you are thirsty this living water, the Holy Spirit is for you. Jesus invites you to come to Him, to drink, and be satisfied.

But what does it mean to be thirsty? We obviously aren’t talking about literal thirst like when you’ve been working outside on a hot day and need a drink. This is a different kind of thirst. This is a thirst for something that we don’t have and can’t have on our own. This is a thirst for forgiveness, for new life, for God to come and dwell with us and in us.

The best example of this kind of thirst in the Bible that I can think of is Psalm 51. Aside from Psalm 23, Psalm 51 might be the most well-known psalm. It’s the “Create in me a clean heart, O God,” psalm. It’s a psalm of David. A psalm that he wrote after he had done some terrible things. He had taken another man’s wife, he had lied to try to cover it up, and he had had her husband killed. Afterward, when the guilt, shame, grief, and sorrow caught up with him he wrote Psalm 51 and prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Right after the “create in me” part David prays, “Cast me not away from your presences and take not you Holy Spirit from me!” This is thirst. This one of the most tragic scenes in the whole Bible. David, the boy who had been chosen by God to be king of Israel, who with the Lord’s helped downed Goliath with rocks and a sling shot, under whom the Lord had built a glorious kingdom, is now left begging God not to take the Holy Spirit from him. David is thirsty for forgiveness, thirsty for God’s love and mercy, thirsty for the Holy Spirit.

When you feel this kind of thirst, when you feel guilt over something you have done or something that you haven’t done, when the weight of years of mistakes starts to pile up and become overwhelming, when you feel that pang in your conscience over something you have done, when you start to think that God could not love, forgive, or accept a person like you, Jesus’ words are for you. “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink.”

The Holy Spirit that Jesus pours out on Pentecost as living water is for thirsty people. The Spirit is for people who are thirsty and know that they cannot do anything about their sin on their own. People who know that by all rights God should have nothing to do with them, but desperately want to have His Spirit dwell in their hearts. Like David, the living water Holy Spirit that Jesus promise is for people who are left with nothing else other than begging God for His forgiveness. “Take not your Holy Spirit from me!” David cried and Jesus answered, “Come to me and drink. I will fill you with the Holy Spirit. Anyone who believes in me out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

We might underestimate what a precious gift this is sometimes. We take the living water of the Holy Spirit for granted. But if we look in the book of Revelation we see something that puts this all in perspective. There, in the last chapter of the book, John writes this: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.”

Here John is talking about the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, the place that Jesus Christ has prepared by His death and resurrection for everyone who believes in Him. At the heart of this city, this image of heaven that John sets before us, is a river. Flowing, bubbling, splashing right down Main Street through the centre of town is the river of the water of life. It flows out of God’s throne and gives life to all who live there. From this living water the tree of life that was there back in the Garden of Eden (not the bad one, but the one that they couldn’t eat from anymore after they ate from the bad one) grows. Everything, every creature great and small, gets its life from these living waters that flow through the city.

When Jesus offers up living water He is offering to you and me this same water that flows through the heavenly city. Jesus offers to have this water flowing in and through you, pouring out of your heart into the world around you. It’s a glorious gift and it is free.

An amazing little detail caught my attention this week as I read over the Pentecost story. I had never noticed or paid attention before to what the disciples of Jesus were doing when the Holy Spirit was poured out on them. In fact, I had never even realized that what they were doing even gets mentioned. Luke tells us there that when the Holy Spirit was poured out on them the disciples were sitting in a house.

If you’re like me then you might be inclined to think or feel that in order for something as fantastically significant like the sending of the Holy Spirit to happen the person to whom the Spirit is going to be sent would have to be doing something significant or meaningful, not just sitting around. You’d think that this kind of thing would only happen when they had prayed a particularly powerful prayer or something. Or maybe the Spirit would only come after they had done some particularly generous act of love and charity. Or maybe the Spirit would come when they had studied the Scriptures with an extra degree of attention and focus. You’d think they would have to be doing something right for this to happen, but all it says here is that they were sitting, waiting, doing nothing.

What we see happening here in the Pentecost story and in the rest of our readings is that Jesus pours out His gifts, His Spirit, His living water not on people who have earned it or worked for it, but on people who are just thirsty, people who are lacking something, people who are in need. Jesus pours out His gifts us not because of who we are or what we are doing, but because of His love for us.

Jesus has poured out His life giving, living water Spirit on you. The life giving water that flows through the heavenly city which our God has prepared for those who love Him now flows in and through you. The Spirit is for you. The water is for you. New life is for you. Forgiveness is for you. Eternity is for you. “Let the one who is thirsty come,” Jesus says a little later in Revelation 22, “let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” It is all yours, freely given, because Christ died for you. In Jesus name. Amen.