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Sixth Sunday of Easter

Readings — Acts 10:44-48; Psalm 98; I John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17

Let’s begin our sermon time with Hymn #412.  Let’s read it together:

Earth and all stars, rushing planets, sing to the Lord a new song!
O victory, loud shouting army, sing to the Lord a new song!
      He has done marvelous things, I, too, will praise him with a new song!

Hail, wind, and rain, loud blowing snow storms, sing to the Lord a new song!
Flowers and trees, loud rushing dry leaves, sing to the Lord a new song!
      He has done marvelous things. I, too, will praise him with a new song!

Trumpet and pipes, loud crashing cymbals, sing to the Lord a new song!
Harp, lute, and lyre, loud humming cellos, sing to the Lord a new song!
      He has done marvelous things, I, too, will praise him with a new song!

Engines and steel, loud blowing hammers, sing to the Lord a new song!
Limestone and beam, loud building workers, sing to the Lord a new song!
      He has done marvelous things. I ,too, will praise him with a new song!

Classrooms and labs, loud boiling test-tubes, sing to the Lord a new song!
Athlete and band, loud cheering people, sing to the Lord a new song!
      He has done marvelous things. I, too, will praise him with a new song!

Knowledge and truth, loud sounding wisdom, sing to the Lord a new song!
Daughter and son, loud praying member, sing to the Lord a new song!
      He has done marvelous things. I, too, will praise him with a new song!

This hymn grows from the first verse of Psalm 98.

Sing to the Lord a new song for God has done marvelous things.

It is so apparent in Spring time, blooming tulips, daffodils, azaleas, iris, dogwood, and dandelions, too.  It is a feast for the eyes and for the nose. 

Yet, “the marvelous things” God has done, for people of faith, is a year-round thing.  Our faith journey is always to use all our senses, especially our hearts, to perceived the Holy Spirit about us, at work.  We look for love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, generosity, and self-control, the fruits of the Spirit, around us.  When we experience those fruits of the Spirit within us – we know we have been blessed.  Yes, we all have been blessed.  And at the end of our day, we need to pause and give thanks for those gifts, perhaps just before we close our eyes for the night as we turn out the light.  Remember those moments when love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, generosity and self-control appeared.  That’s also a good time to remember your blue U.T.O. box on the bureau or night stand. 

Not only do we experience those gifts within ourselves, we can also be surprised to observe those gifts being exercised around us.  Take St. Peter in our reading this morning from Acts:

Peter was astounded that the gifts of the Holy Spirit
had been poured out even on the Gentiles.

They were poured out even on the non-believers, even among the people he encountered that day.  God was present, unexpectantly, and St. Peter recognized the gifts of God showered on those strangers.  God was doing “marvelous things”.  Peter and the known disciples were blessed, and those unknown Gentiles were also blessed by God.  God was doing something marvelous!

So, out task, our ministry, is not only to exercise the fruits of the Spirit that God had given us; our task, our ministry, is to affirm the fruits of the Spirit of God in others we encounter, perhaps even in strangers.

We are to stop, look, and listen as the railroad sign says.

We are to be alert, to discern God among us, even in unexpected people and places.

I will end with a line from our proper collect for today:

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good
things as surpass our understanding… which exceed all that
we can desire.

Amen

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