So a few months ago, I took over a service at a nursing home once a month. I had been playing piano for the services for a while before I was asked to lead the service as well. Sometimes it’s a little awkward to hop back and forth from the piano to the altar, but it’s been working pretty well, and I have a great team of volunteers who come out and shepherd people.
My sermons are short, five minutes or less. Today’s was the shortest yet, just over two minutes. The text was John 14:15–21, “I will not leave you orphaned,” that kind of thing. And I thought maybe other people would be interested in reading what I had to say. So here’s my sermon for today:
I met someone who grew up in a family where, instead of saying “bye” or “see you later” when one of them left the house, they would say, “remember whose you are.” It was a reminder to be strong in identity and values, to remember where you came from and to whom you belong. It was a reminder to live faithfully and in glory to God. Because of that story, I have a card in my wallet that has a sunset with those words printed on it – Remember whose you are.
We remember whose we are, that we are God’s children. God loves us so much that he sent his Son to die for us. During Easter we especially celebrate his resurrection, but that’s not the end. Jesus ascends to heaven, where he still lives, and sends the Spirit to be with us. God loves us so much that He will not leave us orphaned or alone.
At the beginning of this Gospel reading, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” The commandment we are instructed to keep is the one given just before this in John, to love one another as God has loved us.
Our response to God’s love to is to love one another. This can be easy to do when people are nice and we have the ability to help. But what about when we have no help to give or when people are mean or lash out? God’s commandment is clear. We are to love one another, not just when it’s convenient or when they look like us or have our same values or the same beliefs, not just when they’re nice to us or have something to offer us. We are to love one another as God has loved us. Period.
But we’re not alone in this. God sends us the Spirit to guide us and be with us as we figure out the world. He does not leave us orphaned. The Spirit is God’s presence on earth. And this Spirit lives in us. That might sound like some modern hippie stuff, but God’s work is done through us, and the Spirit guides that. We remember whose we are, that we are God’s children. We should do our best to show whose we are by how we love each other. We talk about scripture being God-breathed, God’s word filtered through human hands. Our lives and works should also be God-breathed, the Spirit working through us with our personalities and passions and mistakes imprinted on them. Our love for one another is God-breathed, Spirit-inspired, with our own expression on it.
Remember whose you are.
I have three other sermons that I haven’t posted, though I will if people are interested.