“The Voice of the Lord is Calling”

Sermon – 05-30-21 – Trinity Sunday and Memorial Day Sunday – Cycle B
Scriptures: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17
Sermon Title: “The Voice of the Lord is Calling”

Have you heard it? Our Psalm says that the voice of the Lord is strong and can make powerful movements happen. The oak trees writhe as if they are in pain. God’s voice is in the thunder and in lightning flashes, it says. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees. It shakes the wilderness and strips the forests bare.

Our Psalm also says that the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor. And best of all, the voice of the Lord puts energy into Lebanon and Mount Hermon. These places skip like a calf and a young wild ox.

But, do you remember at another time, on Mount Horeb, when Elijah was overwhelmed by fear and despair, the voice of the Lord was not in the fierce wind or the earthquake or the fire. Then came sheer silence! That is when Elijah left his protective cave and faced the Lord. The Lord said, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Then the Lord truly listened to the frightened and weary Elijah and planned his protection and his retirement with him.

Whether the Lord’s voice comes in the mighty features of nature or in the sheer silence of our hearts, it comes when we call, or when we are running away from that voice. At the Pentecost event there was a mighty rush of wind with little flames dancing all around on people’s heads and shoulders. God changed the language experience so everyone could understand what was said by the disciples of Jesus.

Today in our lesson from John 3, we find wind again. Jesus is saying to Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know from where it comes or where it goes.” Jesus was using this as an example of how the Holy Spirit moves among us, around us, and in us. The Holy Spirit moving like the wind can change us and our lives just as the Lord changed Elijah’s life and his feelings. Elijah became free of fear. He could trust the Lord to “fix” his life in a very satisfactory way.

This wind of the Spirit seems unpredictable to us but still we can trust it because it has happened to us in the past. If it is a brand new thing for anyone to have the Holy Spirit take charge of their lives, or a tiny corner of their lives, we are surprised. And sometimes we have the opportunity to deny the Holy Spirit access to our lives. But not really. The Holy Spirit will emerge some way, some how to change us completely or in a small way.

Let’s look at Nicodemus in John 3. Nicodemus is an important Jew. He is a Pharisee, a leader. He comes to confess his respect for Jesus and to tell Jesus he believes that Jesus is the son of God. He needs to come secretly in the night because he could be ousted from his position with the Jewish establishment if this meeting becomes known. Nicodemus believes that Jesus is the Son of God because of all the signs that Jesus has done, especially of healing.

You would think that Jesus might say, “Great, Nicodemus! Thanks for coming here under cover to tell me that. You are welcome to be a secret follower of mine.” But no, Jesus went on to tell Nicodemus how he can become a true follower of Jesus in this earthly Kingdom of God. The Jews had their own rules about being true Jews. But so does Jesus! Jesus starts on this language about “being born again.”

Of course, Nicodemus is puzzled. He only knows one way to be born. It is impossible for any person already born from a mother’s body to have that happen again. Jesus explains, “You must be born from above.” Jesus goes on with the wind idea. The Holy Spirit moves as the wind moves. We feel it. We feel it changing how we feel. We gradually see how it is changing our responses. It is very helpful to know the source of this wind-like Holy Spirit – not a direction but the source. The source is God, also called Lord, also known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Did you catch that Jesus said we must be born again of water and the Spirit? Water. We call it baptism. Does that mean that we are born again at the very instant of baptism? In our way of being church, we do not think there needs to be one minute, one flash of lightning, one blessing that makes us born again. We do think that is possible. We just don’t think that it needs to work that way. We believe in a more gradual process. We become more connected to God as things happen and as we mature, as we pray, as we worship together, as we experience the Holy Spirit working in our lives, as other people gather us in their love and as we learn to include other people in our love.

Then Jesus explains to Nicodemus what the real reason is for Jesus presence on earth. It is to be lifted on a cross to die. More puzzlement for Nicodemus! This is strange talk. But right then and there comes “the gospel in a nutshell” as we say. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” It is so that we can be assured of spending eternity with God instead of without God. But we need to accept this gift. We need to say “I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior.” We can say it aloud or to ourselves. It needs to come from our hearts, not only our heads.

If we wonder if Nicodemus ever turned his back on his Jewish position, he did finally. He and Joseph of Arimathea lovingly took care of Jesus’ body between the cross and the tomb. Joseph of Arimathea was a similar behind-the-scene disciple of God.

Jesus adds that he did not come to earth to condemn the world but to save it. We are grieved that the world does not accept this invitation. The world seems to condemn itself. Should we care? Well, God created the earth for us. It would seem that if we accept the Son as our Savior we should show our respect, our thankfulness, our love by caring for the world. Not just the land and seas and all that is in them, but for the people. Not only for their bodily well-being but their souls. We should not want to be responsible for people going to the trash mountain or worse.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he further explains this Holy Spirit being more than flesh. If we are led by the Spirit of God, we will be called “Children of God.” We are to feel adopted calling the Father “Abba!” Then we will be heirs. What will we inherit? Will our personal bank accounts feel this inheritance? Not likely. This inheritance is eternal life with God. If this is what we want for ourselves, we are expected to bring other people into the family. Only the Holy Spirit can assist us in this quest!

Come, Holy Spirit, fall afresh on us. While you are molding us to be more God-like, open our mouths, open our actions, show our joy so that other people will join us as part of God’s family. Amen

Sermon – 05-30-21 – Trinity Sunday and Memorial Day Sunday – Cycle B
Scriptures: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17
Sermon Title: “The Voice of the Lord is Calling”

Have you heard it? Our Psalm says that the voice of the Lord is strong and can make powerful movements happen. The oak trees writhe as if they are in pain. God’s voice is in the thunder and in lightning flashes, it says. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees. It shakes the wilderness and strips the forests bare.

Our Psalm also says that the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor. And best of all, the voice of the Lord puts energy into Lebanon and Mount Hermon. These places skip like a calf and a young wild ox.

But, do you remember at another time, on Mount Horeb, when Elijah was overwhelmed by fear and despair, the voice of the Lord was not in the fierce wind or the earthquake or the fire. Then came sheer silence! That is when Elijah left his protective cave and faced the Lord. The Lord said, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Then the Lord truly listened to the frightened and weary Elijah and planned his protection and his retirement with him.

Whether the Lord’s voice comes in the mighty features of nature or in the sheer silence of our hearts, it comes when we call, or when we are running away from that voice. At the Pentecost event there was a mighty rush of wind with little flames dancing all around on people’s heads and shoulders. God changed the language experience so everyone could understand what was said by the disciples of Jesus.

Today in our lesson from John 3, we find wind again. Jesus is saying to Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know from where it comes or where it goes.” Jesus was using this as an example of how the Holy Spirit moves among us, around us, and in us. The Holy Spirit moving like the wind can change us and our lives just as the Lord changed Elijah’s life and his feelings. Elijah became free of fear. He could trust the Lord to “fix” his life in a very satisfactory way.

This wind of the Spirit seems unpredictable to us but still we can trust it because it has happened to us in the past. If it is a brand new thing for anyone to have the Holy Spirit take charge of their lives, or a tiny corner of their lives, we are surprised. And sometimes we have the opportunity to deny the Holy Spirit access to our lives. But not really. The Holy Spirit will emerge some way, some how to change us completely or in a small way.

Let’s look at Nicodemus in John 3. Nicodemus is an important Jew. He is a Pharisee, a leader. He comes to confess his respect for Jesus and to tell Jesus he believes that Jesus is the son of God. He needs to come secretly in the night because he could be ousted from his position with the Jewish establishment if this meeting becomes known. Nicodemus believes that Jesus is the Son of God because of all the signs that Jesus has done, especially of healing.

You would think that Jesus might say, “Great, Nicodemus! Thanks for coming here under cover to tell me that. You are welcome to be a secret follower of mine.” But no, Jesus went on to tell Nicodemus how he can become a true follower of Jesus in this earthly Kingdom of God. The Jews had their own rules about being true Jews. But so does Jesus! Jesus starts on this language about “being born again.”

Of course, Nicodemus is puzzled. He only knows one way to be born. It is impossible for any person already born from a mother’s body to have that happen again. Jesus explains, “You must be born from above.” Jesus goes on with the wind idea. The Holy Spirit moves as the wind moves. We feel it. We feel it changing how we feel. We gradually see how it is changing our responses. It is very helpful to know the source of this wind-like Holy Spirit – not a direction but the source. The source is God, also called Lord, also known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Did you catch that Jesus said we must be born again of water and the Spirit? Water. We call it baptism. Does that mean that we are born again at the very instant of baptism? In our way of being church, we do not think there needs to be one minute, one flash of lightning, one blessing that makes us born again. We do think that is possible. We just don’t think that it needs to work that way. We believe in a more gradual process. We become more connected to God as things happen and as we mature, as we pray, as we worship together, as we experience the Holy Spirit working in our lives, as other people gather us in their love and as we learn to include other people in our love.

Then Jesus explains to Nicodemus what the real reason is for Jesus presence on earth. It is to be lifted on a cross to die. More puzzlement for Nicodemus! This is strange talk. But right then and there comes “the gospel in a nutshell” as we say. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” It is so that we can be assured of spending eternity with God instead of without God. But we need to accept this gift. We need to say “I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior.” We can say it aloud or to ourselves. It needs to come from our hearts, not only our heads.

If we wonder if Nicodemus ever turned his back on his Jewish position, he did finally. He and Joseph of Arimathea lovingly took care of Jesus’ body between the cross and the tomb. Joseph of Arimathea was a similar behind-the-scene disciple of God.

Jesus adds that he did not come to earth to condemn the world but to save it. We are grieved that the world does not accept this invitation. The world seems to condemn itself. Should we care? Well, God created the earth for us. It would seem that if we accept the Son as our Savior we should show our respect, our thankfulness, our love by caring for the world. Not just the land and seas and all that is in them, but for the people. Not only for their bodily well-being but their souls. We should not want to be responsible for people going to the trash mountain or worse.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he further explains this Holy Spirit being more than flesh. If we are led by the Spirit of God, we will be called “Children of God.” We are to feel adopted calling the Father “Abba!” Then we will be heirs. What will we inherit? Will our personal bank accounts feel this inheritance? Not likely. This inheritance is eternal life with God. If this is what we want for ourselves, we are expected to bring other people into the family. Only the Holy Spirit can assist us in this quest!

Come, Holy Spirit, fall afresh on us. While you are molding us to be more God-like, open our mouths, open our actions, show our joy so that other people will join us as part of God’s family. Amen

Sermon – 05-30-21 – Trinity Sunday and Memorial Day Sunday – Cycle B
Scriptures: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17
Sermon Title: “The Voice of the Lord is Calling”

Have you heard it? Our Psalm says that the voice of the Lord is strong and can make powerful movements happen. The oak trees writhe as if they are in pain. God’s voice is in the thunder and in lightning flashes, it says. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees. It shakes the wilderness and strips the forests bare.

Our Psalm also says that the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor. And best of all, the voice of the Lord puts energy into Lebanon and Mount Hermon. These places skip like a calf and a young wild ox.

But, do you remember at another time, on Mount Horeb, when Elijah was overwhelmed by fear and despair, the voice of the Lord was not in the fierce wind or the earthquake or the fire. Then came sheer silence! That is when Elijah left his protective cave and faced the Lord. The Lord said, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Then the Lord truly listened to the frightened and weary Elijah and planned his protection and his retirement with him.

Whether the Lord’s voice comes in the mighty features of nature or in the sheer silence of our hearts, it comes when we call, or when we are running away from that voice. At the Pentecost event there was a mighty rush of wind with little flames dancing all around on people’s heads and shoulders. God changed the language experience so everyone could understand what was said by the disciples of Jesus.

Today in our lesson from John 3, we find wind again. Jesus is saying to Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know from where it comes or where it goes.” Jesus was using this as an example of how the Holy Spirit moves among us, around us, and in us. The Holy Spirit moving like the wind can change us and our lives just as the Lord changed Elijah’s life and his feelings. Elijah became free of fear. He could trust the Lord to “fix” his life in a very satisfactory way.

This wind of the Spirit seems unpredictable to us but still we can trust it because it has happened to us in the past. If it is a brand new thing for anyone to have the Holy Spirit take charge of their lives, or a tiny corner of their lives, we are surprised. And sometimes we have the opportunity to deny the Holy Spirit access to our lives. But not really. The Holy Spirit will emerge some way, some how to change us completely or in a small way.

Let’s look at Nicodemus in John 3. Nicodemus is an important Jew. He is a Pharisee, a leader. He comes to confess his respect for Jesus and to tell Jesus he believes that Jesus is the son of God. He needs to come secretly in the night because he could be ousted from his position with the Jewish establishment if this meeting becomes known. Nicodemus believes that Jesus is the Son of God because of all the signs that Jesus has done, especially of healing.

You would think that Jesus might say, “Great, Nicodemus! Thanks for coming here under cover to tell me that. You are welcome to be a secret follower of mine.” But no, Jesus went on to tell Nicodemus how he can become a true follower of Jesus in this earthly Kingdom of God. The Jews had their own rules about being true Jews. But so does Jesus! Jesus starts on this language about “being born again.”

Of course, Nicodemus is puzzled. He only knows one way to be born. It is impossible for any person already born from a mother’s body to have that happen again. Jesus explains, “You must be born from above.” Jesus goes on with the wind idea. The Holy Spirit moves as the wind moves. We feel it. We feel it changing how we feel. We gradually see how it is changing our responses. It is very helpful to know the source of this wind-like Holy Spirit – not a direction but the source. The source is God, also called Lord, also known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Did you catch that Jesus said we must be born again of water and the Spirit? Water. We call it baptism. Does that mean that we are born again at the very instant of baptism? In our way of being church, we do not think there needs to be one minute, one flash of lightning, one blessing that makes us born again. We do think that is possible. We just don’t think that it needs to work that way. We believe in a more gradual process. We become more connected to God as things happen and as we mature, as we pray, as we worship together, as we experience the Holy Spirit working in our lives, as other people gather us in their love and as we learn to include other people in our love.

Then Jesus explains to Nicodemus what the real reason is for Jesus presence on earth. It is to be lifted on a cross to die. More puzzlement for Nicodemus! This is strange talk. But right then and there comes “the gospel in a nutshell” as we say. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” It is so that we can be assured of spending eternity with God instead of without God. But we need to accept this gift. We need to say “I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior.” We can say it aloud or to ourselves. It needs to come from our hearts, not only our heads.

If we wonder if Nicodemus ever turned his back on his Jewish position, he did finally. He and Joseph of Arimathea lovingly took care of Jesus’ body between the cross and the tomb. Joseph of Arimathea was a similar behind-the-scene disciple of God.

Jesus adds that he did not come to earth to condemn the world but to save it. We are grieved that the world does not accept this invitation. The world seems to condemn itself. Should we care? Well, God created the earth for us. It would seem that if we accept the Son as our Savior we should show our respect, our thankfulness, our love by caring for the world. Not just the land and seas and all that is in them, but for the people. Not only for their bodily well-being but their souls. We should not want to be responsible for people going to the trash mountain or worse.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he further explains this Holy Spirit being more than flesh. If we are led by the Spirit of God, we will be called “Children of God.” We are to feel adopted calling the Father “Abba!” Then we will be heirs. What will we inherit? Will our personal bank accounts feel this inheritance? Not likely. This inheritance is eternal life with God. If this is what we want for ourselves, we are expected to bring other people into the family. Only the Holy Spirit can assist us in this quest!

Come, Holy Spirit, fall afresh on us. While you are molding us to be more God-like, open our mouths, open our actions, show our joy so that other people will join us as part of God’s family. Amen

Sermon – 05-30-21 – Trinity Sunday and Memorial Day Sunday – Cycle B
Scriptures: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17
Sermon Title: “The Voice of the Lord is Calling”

Have you heard it? Our Psalm says that the voice of the Lord is strong and can make powerful movements happen. The oak trees writhe as if they are in pain. God’s voice is in the thunder and in lightning flashes, it says. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees. It shakes the wilderness and strips the forests bare.

Our Psalm also says that the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor. And best of all, the voice of the Lord puts energy into Lebanon and Mount Hermon. These places skip like a calf and a young wild ox.

But, do you remember at another time, on Mount Horeb, when Elijah was overwhelmed by fear and despair, the voice of the Lord was not in the fierce wind or the earthquake or the fire. Then came sheer silence! That is when Elijah left his protective cave and faced the Lord. The Lord said, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Then the Lord truly listened to the frightened and weary Elijah and planned his protection and his retirement with him.

Whether the Lord’s voice comes in the mighty features of nature or in the sheer silence of our hearts, it comes when we call, or when we are running away from that voice. At the Pentecost event there was a mighty rush of wind with little flames dancing all around on people’s heads and shoulders. God changed the language experience so everyone could understand what was said by the disciples of Jesus.

Today in our lesson from John 3, we find wind again. Jesus is saying to Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know from where it comes or where it goes.” Jesus was using this as an example of how the Holy Spirit moves among us, around us, and in us. The Holy Spirit moving like the wind can change us and our lives just as the Lord changed Elijah’s life and his feelings. Elijah became free of fear. He could trust the Lord to “fix” his life in a very satisfactory way.

This wind of the Spirit seems unpredictable to us but still we can trust it because it has happened to us in the past. If it is a brand new thing for anyone to have the Holy Spirit take charge of their lives, or a tiny corner of their lives, we are surprised. And sometimes we have the opportunity to deny the Holy Spirit access to our lives. But not really. The Holy Spirit will emerge some way, some how to change us completely or in a small way.

Let’s look at Nicodemus in John 3. Nicodemus is an important Jew. He is a Pharisee, a leader. He comes to confess his respect for Jesus and to tell Jesus he believes that Jesus is the son of God. He needs to come secretly in the night because he could be ousted from his position with the Jewish establishment if this meeting becomes known. Nicodemus believes that Jesus is the Son of God because of all the signs that Jesus has done, especially of healing.

You would think that Jesus might say, “Great, Nicodemus! Thanks for coming here under cover to tell me that. You are welcome to be a secret follower of mine.” But no, Jesus went on to tell Nicodemus how he can become a true follower of Jesus in this earthly Kingdom of God. The Jews had their own rules about being true Jews. But so does Jesus! Jesus starts on this language about “being born again.”

Of course, Nicodemus is puzzled. He only knows one way to be born. It is impossible for any person already born from a mother’s body to have that happen again. Jesus explains, “You must be born from above.” Jesus goes on with the wind idea. The Holy Spirit moves as the wind moves. We feel it. We feel it changing how we feel. We gradually see how it is changing our responses. It is very helpful to know the source of this wind-like Holy Spirit – not a direction but the source. The source is God, also called Lord, also known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Did you catch that Jesus said we must be born again of water and the Spirit? Water. We call it baptism. Does that mean that we are born again at the very instant of baptism? In our way of being church, we do not think there needs to be one minute, one flash of lightning, one blessing that makes us born again. We do think that is possible. We just don’t think that it needs to work that way. We believe in a more gradual process. We become more connected to God as things happen and as we mature, as we pray, as we worship together, as we experience the Holy Spirit working in our lives, as other people gather us in their love and as we learn to include other people in our love.

Then Jesus explains to Nicodemus what the real reason is for Jesus presence on earth. It is to be lifted on a cross to die. More puzzlement for Nicodemus! This is strange talk. But right then and there comes “the gospel in a nutshell” as we say. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” It is so that we can be assured of spending eternity with God instead of without God. But we need to accept this gift. We need to say “I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior.” We can say it aloud or to ourselves. It needs to come from our hearts, not only our heads.

If we wonder if Nicodemus ever turned his back on his Jewish position, he did finally. He and Joseph of Arimathea lovingly took care of Jesus’ body between the cross and the tomb. Joseph of Arimathea was a similar behind-the-scene disciple of God.

Jesus adds that he did not come to earth to condemn the world but to save it. We are grieved that the world does not accept this invitation. The world seems to condemn itself. Should we care? Well, God created the earth for us. It would seem that if we accept the Son as our Savior we should show our respect, our thankfulness, our love by caring for the world. Not just the land and seas and all that is in them, but for the people. Not only for their bodily well-being but their souls. We should not want to be responsible for people going to the trash mountain or worse.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he further explains this Holy Spirit being more than flesh. If we are led by the Spirit of God, we will be called “Children of God.” We are to feel adopted calling the Father “Abba!” Then we will be heirs. What will we inherit? Will our personal bank accounts feel this inheritance? Not likely. This inheritance is eternal life with God. If this is what we want for ourselves, we are expected to bring other people into the family. Only the Holy Spirit can assist us in this quest!

Come, Holy Spirit, fall afresh on us. While you are molding us to be more God-like, open our mouths, open our actions, show our joy so that other people will join us as part of God’s family. Amen

Sermon – 05-30-21 – Trinity Sunday and Memorial Day Sunday – Cycle B
Scriptures: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17
Sermon Title: “The Voice of the Lord is Calling”

Have you heard it? Our Psalm says that the voice of the Lord is strong and can make powerful movements happen. The oak trees writhe as if they are in pain. God’s voice is in the thunder and in lightning flashes, it says. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees. It shakes the wilderness and strips the forests bare.

Our Psalm also says that the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor. And best of all, the voice of the Lord puts energy into Lebanon and Mount Hermon. These places skip like a calf and a young wild ox.

But, do you remember at another time, on Mount Horeb, when Elijah was overwhelmed by fear and despair, the voice of the Lord was not in the fierce wind or the earthquake or the fire. Then came sheer silence! That is when Elijah left his protective cave and faced the Lord. The Lord said, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Then the Lord truly listened to the frightened and weary Elijah and planned his protection and his retirement with him.

Whether the Lord’s voice comes in the mighty features of nature or in the sheer silence of our hearts, it comes when we call, or when we are running away from that voice. At the Pentecost event there was a mighty rush of wind with little flames dancing all around on people’s heads and shoulders. God changed the language experience so everyone could understand what was said by the disciples of Jesus.

Today in our lesson from John 3, we find wind again. Jesus is saying to Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know from where it comes or where it goes.” Jesus was using this as an example of how the Holy Spirit moves among us, around us, and in us. The Holy Spirit moving like the wind can change us and our lives just as the Lord changed Elijah’s life and his feelings. Elijah became free of fear. He could trust the Lord to “fix” his life in a very satisfactory way.

This wind of the Spirit seems unpredictable to us but still we can trust it because it has happened to us in the past. If it is a brand new thing for anyone to have the Holy Spirit take charge of their lives, or a tiny corner of their lives, we are surprised. And sometimes we have the opportunity to deny the Holy Spirit access to our lives. But not really. The Holy Spirit will emerge some way, some how to change us completely or in a small way.

Let’s look at Nicodemus in John 3. Nicodemus is an important Jew. He is a Pharisee, a leader. He comes to confess his respect for Jesus and to tell Jesus he believes that Jesus is the son of God. He needs to come secretly in the night because he could be ousted from his position with the Jewish establishment if this meeting becomes known. Nicodemus believes that Jesus is the Son of God because of all the signs that Jesus has done, especially of healing.

You would think that Jesus might say, “Great, Nicodemus! Thanks for coming here under cover to tell me that. You are welcome to be a secret follower of mine.” But no, Jesus went on to tell Nicodemus how he can become a true follower of Jesus in this earthly Kingdom of God. The Jews had their own rules about being true Jews. But so does Jesus! Jesus starts on this language about “being born again.”

Of course, Nicodemus is puzzled. He only knows one way to be born. It is impossible for any person already born from a mother’s body to have that happen again. Jesus explains, “You must be born from above.” Jesus goes on with the wind idea. The Holy Spirit moves as the wind moves. We feel it. We feel it changing how we feel. We gradually see how it is changing our responses. It is very helpful to know the source of this wind-like Holy Spirit – not a direction but the source. The source is God, also called Lord, also known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Did you catch that Jesus said we must be born again of water and the Spirit? Water. We call it baptism. Does that mean that we are born again at the very instant of baptism? In our way of being church, we do not think there needs to be one minute, one flash of lightning, one blessing that makes us born again. We do think that is possible. We just don’t think that it needs to work that way. We believe in a more gradual process. We become more connected to God as things happen and as we mature, as we pray, as we worship together, as we experience the Holy Spirit working in our lives, as other people gather us in their love and as we learn to include other people in our love.

Then Jesus explains to Nicodemus what the real reason is for Jesus presence on earth. It is to be lifted on a cross to die. More puzzlement for Nicodemus! This is strange talk. But right then and there comes “the gospel in a nutshell” as we say. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” It is so that we can be assured of spending eternity with God instead of without God. But we need to accept this gift. We need to say “I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior.” We can say it aloud or to ourselves. It needs to come from our hearts, not only our heads.

If we wonder if Nicodemus ever turned his back on his Jewish position, he did finally. He and Joseph of Arimathea lovingly took care of Jesus’ body between the cross and the tomb. Joseph of Arimathea was a similar behind-the-scene disciple of God.

Jesus adds that he did not come to earth to condemn the world but to save it. We are grieved that the world does not accept this invitation. The world seems to condemn itself. Should we care? Well, God created the earth for us. It would seem that if we accept the Son as our Savior we should show our respect, our thankfulness, our love by caring for the world. Not just the land and seas and all that is in them, but for the people. Not only for their bodily well-being but their souls. We should not want to be responsible for people going to the trash mountain or worse.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he further explains this Holy Spirit being more than flesh. If we are led by the Spirit of God, we will be called “Children of God.” We are to feel adopted calling the Father “Abba!” Then we will be heirs. What will we inherit? Will our personal bank accounts feel this inheritance? Not likely. This inheritance is eternal life with God. If this is what we want for ourselves, we are expected to bring other people into the family. Only the Holy Spirit can assist us in this quest!

Come, Holy Spirit, fall afresh on us. While you are molding us to be more God-like, open our mouths, open our actions, show our joy so that other people will join us as part of God’s family. Amen

Come, Holy Spirit, fall afresh on us. While you are molding us to be more God-like, open our mouths, open our actions, show our joy so that other people will join us as part of God’s family. Amen

Come, Holy Spirit, fall afresh on us. While you are molding us to be more God-like, open our mouths, open our actions, show our joy so that other people will join us as part of God’s family. Amen

Come, Holy Spirit, fall afresh on us. While you are molding us to be more God-like, open our mouths, open our actions, show our joy so that other people will join us as part of God’s family. Amen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s