Joke about man getting to heaven.
St. Peter: Ssshhhh. This is the Lutheran section. They think they are the only ones here. We don’t want to disappoint them.
Bible study on Acts:
What is the Holy Spirit doing now?
Where is the Holy Spirit going next?
- Pentecost Day. Speaking in the tongues of the people from all over. Over 3000 were baptized and became Christians on that day – though they were not known as Christians but followers of Jesus or THE WAY
- Philip goes to the Ethiopian eunuch and “unpacks the scriptures for him to understand” then baptizes the eunuch.
- Conversion of Saul – who had been the official witness to the stoning of Stephen, the first OF MANY martyrs in the church; the one who was persecuting the followers of THE WAY and was actually on his way to Damascus to arrest folk and bring them back to Jerusalem for trial and execution because they were “twisting” the Jewish faith.
- Today’s story of Peter in Joppa and his vision. (In today’s version, it is his telling of what happened.)
- Peter states: Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality!
- Peter miraculously released from prison by the Spirit (or an angel)
- Paul’s amazing ministry recounted all through Acts
- So much more.
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Risen Jesus – does not act as we might expect in many cases, and MOVES IN WAYS AND INTO PLACES WE WOULD NOT EXPECT.
Early church – first believers/followers of Jesus were Jewish, so natural that they understood that this WAY was a Jewish understanding of relating to God, the One who raised Jesus from the dead.
Peter finds out otherwise.
Even in these later days of followers of Jesus, we were often separated from one another by language and ethnicity, culture and custom.
Martin Luther did not want a different church. He wanted to reform the church in which he grew up. But it was not to be.
I continue to proclaim the Lutheran is an adjective, not a noun. We are not followers of Martin Luther – we are followers of Jesus Christ.
As St. Paul even said: Don’t say I am of Paul or Peter or Apollos. Did any one of us die for your sins? NO. Say we are followers of Christ Jesus.
Lutheran is an adjective. I am not a Lutheran. I am a LUTHERAN CHRISTIAN.
For so long the church would separate itself.
Even on Church avenue: 4th avenue in Brooklyn, there were so many Lutheran churches because of language and custom. There was even one corner where there were 3 very large Lutheran congregations: one Danish, one Finish, and one German. Today – the church buildings used by other expressions of Christianity.
Children’s sermon: folk who did not grow up in the Lutheran Christian tradition: very diverse.
And this is a good thing.
We have folk who did not grow up in ANY Christian tradition at all – but have been moved by the Spirit – in unexpected and amazing ways, to learn to know and trust and love Jesus Christ.
And we have been blessed to have them here with us at Trinity.
THE GREATEST PLACE I HAVE SERVED IN MY LIFE – BECAUSE OF OUR GREAT DIVERSITY.
My friends: THIS IS WHAT HEAVEN IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE.
I HOPE. I BELIEVE. I REJOICE.