Acts 2:1-21 or Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b (30)
Romans 8:14-17 or Acts 2:1-21
John 14:8-17 [25-27]
Prayer of the Day:
God our creator, the resurrection of your Son offers life to all the peoples of earth. By your Holy Spirit, kindle in us the fire of your love, empowering our lives for service and our tongues for praise, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
14:8 Philip said to [Jesus], “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
14:25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
John 14:8-27. New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
My Peace I Give to You
Three of our Saint Peter Eighth Graders, Matthew, Maddie and Landon, will celebrate the end of their catechetical studies this Sunday, and begin their lives as adult members of this church. It’s going to be a big day for me. I have been teaching catechism since the Fall of 1981: 32 years of studying and serving and worshipping and playing with these Middle School students. And for the past six years, one of my sons has always been in the class: Brady from the Fall of 2007 to the Spring of 2010, and Landon from the Fall of 2010 until now. I will lay my hands on Landon’s head this Sunday and speak these familiar words:
We give you thanks, O God, that through water and the Holy Spirit you give us new birth, wash us from sin, and raise us to eternal life. Stir up in Landon the gift of your Holy Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever. Amen.
In some ways, everything will change. I’ve enjoyed being part of these Sunday evenings, and Friday retreats, and trips to Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp, and service events around town with Brady and Landon — and with Matthew and Maddie too! For me, with them finishing up, it will never be quite the same.
There is sadness in that, but new life as well. This is a time of new beginnings for them. A time of accepting new responsibility for their faith, their faithfulness, and their relationship with God. A time of exploring the gifts God has given to them, and deciding how to put them to work for good in the world. A time of living into the promises of God. A time of living out what we’ve studied and practiced these past three years.
It will never be the same for me, and I do hope it will never be quite the same for them, either. Not because I want them to join me in my misery (I’m just kidding — I’m far more
proud and hopeful, than sad…), but because I want this day, as they affirm the promises God made to them in baptism, to be the start of a deeper, richer way of connecting their lives with their faith. I want them to know a faith that is not grounded only in what their parents believe, but in what they know to be true. I want them to take seriously the love God has for them, and the call God extends to them to live faithfully in this world. I want them to become, more and more, the people God asks them to be and needs them to be.
That can be intimidating — even frightening. A lot more is “up to them” now than has ever been the case before. They are a gifted group of young people, and I know God has great expectations for their faithfulness. So as they take on these new responsibilities, I hope they will remember the words we have been singing for the past three years; the words Jesus speaks in this morning’s Gospel lesson; the words he intends as a source of comfort and hope for his disciples, and for us:
May the peace of the Lord be with you.
With your friends and your family too.
Let it be, let it grow, and everywhere you go,
May the peace of the Lord follow you.
Go and grow in faith, Matt and Maddie and Landon. You are three wonderfully gifted and faithful young people. God will accomplish much through you in the years to come. Go and grow, knowing that the peace of Christ will always be with you. Don’t be afraid. Let your hearts not be troubled. Have faith in God. You have been given Christ’s peace; may it follow you everywhere you go. Amen!
David J. Risendal, Pastor (and dad)
Exploring This Week’s Gospel:
- What does Philip think he needs to see, in order to be “satisfied?”
- How is Jesus’ promised gift of the Holy Spirit a response to Philip’s need?
- When will the peace that Jesus promises be especially important to Philip and the others?
Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:
- When does fear trouble my heart?
- How can placing my faith in the presence of the Holy Spirit conquer that?
- What would it look like for me to face the world, and my obligations, with Christ’s peace?