The Gospel for Sunday is a part of the farewell discourse from the middle of John’s Gospel. Funny that a big part of John is taken up with a goodbye speech by Jesus. Within that speech is a reimagining of the faith of the Bible. The Holy Spirit, the Advocate, will be with you forever. Forever.
Forever means no end time. Time itself is no more. But what happened to time? Maybe time as we experience it turns into nothingness, into an abyss. Those of us who hold a biblical faith believe that time turns to holiness.
The line from the Bible, above–I will give you another Advocate–could be stated in another way, an apostolic/sending way: I will send you into the forever of God’s love. The Holy Spirit replaces time. That’s a mind blowing thought, I know. Beyond time is holiness. Within holiness is love. That’s the Gospel. The Holy Spirit will be with you forever.
So much of the biblical faith has to do with freeing human hearts and souls from the tyranny of time. Ancient Israel summarized this with the notion of Sabbath. The third commandment is: Remember the holy day. Remember the Sabbath; keep it holy. For us, Sabbath is the reminder of our Christian freedom. We are not limited by time. Love is not ended by time. We are not defined as people by the work we do, or by our words and deeds. Through our faith in Jesus our lives are covered in the spirit of holiness. The ancient words of the liturgy gently turn our secular concerns into the holiness of eternity.
Remember the grounds and garden work day on Saturday, May 20, from 1 pm until about 5 pm. There will be a list of things to do on the counter in the fellowship hall, or you can do whatever you think needs to be done at your church. Stephanie will be here at 3 pm to supervise planting in the garden. Confirmation students are asked to meet with Pastor Johnson sometime during the afternoon.
Robert Zund, Way to Emmaus 1877
On that same day two disciples were going to a village called Emmaus…While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them. Luke 24: 13f
Easter ends with “Christ is risen”, and that’s it. Happy news. Everything’s good. Now he’s out of the way again, no law suits about unlawful death, no burial plot to tend. But for the Gospel writers and for the church, that’s the beginning of the story, not the end. Last week we heard the beginning of the story for John–in the disciples’, and especially in Thomas’, encounter with Jesus behind closed doors. Sunday we hear where Luke thinks the story begins, in what is among my favorite bible stories, maybe my favorite, the road to Emmaus. The unnamed disciples recognize their Lord, and receive him, not in a vague rumor, but in words heard, by them, and in bread broken, for them.
Connor George Gregory will be baptized. Connor’s parents are Rick and Karla. They live in Framingham. Baptisms allow us to see where faith begins. In words spoken over the water, and in water splashed on a person’s head, a life in the light of God’s love begins.
The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.
Bring in non-perishable items for the Wayland Food Pantry. The basket is almost full! Let’s fill it up for a delivery early next week.
Following the service members of the council will lead another forum on the summer sabbatical months. I hope many of you will attend.
and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11
On the Second Sunday of Easter we read about Jesus coming through locked doors to show himself to his disciples, and to give them a spirit of life to guide them.
I hope that our church is always a place where young people are supported and encouraged in their lives. Each of us chooses a different path through life, but as we go our separate ways we can return to an assembly that listens to us and is gracious and hospitable. As a community, surrounded by the saints and by life-affirming wisdom of the ages, we have resources to be open and affirming of good things in the world, strong and fearless in support of people–especially of young people–who are finding their way.
Sunday we will hear Allen Simon tell a little bit about his life journey. Allen is a first-year student at Harvard Divinity School. He has been working at Peace this year, and has taken special interest in helping with Family Promise and learning about our community arts program. He has taught us about Taoism and the Baha’i faith. He has combined meditation on Christian scripture with ancient Chinese exercises, and helped us in other ways. After the service, during the faith formation hour, Allen will make a short presentation on Young Man Luther by Erik Erikson. Even if you have not read the excerpts, you are welcome. I hope you’ll come.