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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES FOR MAY 19 | The Holy Spirit helps us speak the language of love

For Jesus, His first movement toward everyone He met was an act of love

Since Easter Sunday, we have been listening to a collection of Scriptures instructing us how to be a pentecostal people. The Scriptures have talked about fear, disillusionment, abandonment and misunderstandings. The stories should be more than a historical recollection of what happened around the life of Jesus. As we meditate on the Scriptures, it is our job to bring them into our daily life and allow Jesus’ example to form our way of living. Pentecost should be the fulfillment of the Easter promise and the beginning of a new way of living for each of us. Each year we are given this opportunity to draw deeper into relationship with Jesus and to let the fruit of that relationship affect how we are in the world.

If we’re honest about our lives, how many of us would say that we are living more out of fear than hope these days? We can only be more deeply converted to Jesus and His way of life if we are honest. Haven’t many of us begun to believe that the world is perpetually divided and there is no hope for the grace of God to bring us together? Isn’t it true that our worry and fear exhaust many of us? We worry ourselves to fatigue over anticipating the future rather than living in the present moment.

We know the present moment is imperfect, but Jesus knew the same thing about His time and place. That didn’t keep Him from being a person of hope and living as He knew He needed to live. Even having His life threatened did not deter Him. His first act toward others was an act of love. Even if that person harmed Him, He offered love to them. He showed us how to do that and then left this earth, giving us the task of finishing His mission.

To make Pentecost a way of living and not just one weekend in the Church, we need to choose what pentecostal living looks like for us. We also need to commit to living that day by day. Where is the Holy Spirit moving us out of fear and into freedom? Where is the Holy Spirit moving us to transform our lives from hatred to love? Where is the Holy Spirit calling us to renew our belief in God’s promises and to live with those promises as the foundation of our lives?

Have we considered making a life of love more important than security? Have we considered a level of discomfort that we are willing to live with for the sake of living as Jesus taught? Have we practiced the habits that will allow us to meet hatred with love and not revenge? What will it take for us to continue to be engaged with the world rather than hiding behind some locked door of insecurity? Have we examined the example we set for the younger ones around us? Is the way that we’re living our faith attractive to young people? Do they hear from us and see in us something other than fear and anxiety and hatred and division?

The Holy Spirit leads us once we set aside our choice to let fear rule our lives so that we can speak in a way that everyone understands us. In this instance, the Scriptures are talking about the universal language of love. Love is a universal language regardless of the nation, religion or language spoken. Acts of kindness and acts of service are recognized as godly acts. It does not mean that everyone will be open to receiving them, but it does mean that we are doing the work God asks us to do. Come, Holy Spirit! Fill our hearts with your love!

Father Donald Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.

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