Love and the Work of the Spirit
Opening Question: Do you still get excited about seeing a Star Wars movie? Why do you get getting excited?
First Reading: Acts 8:5-8
“On a distant planet, far, far away...” Jenna liked to watch the original Star Wars trilogy, over and over. Jenna shouted as she zoomed around the room with her arms out, pretending to be a Rebel fighter. “That daughter of your’s sure has spirit,” Jenna’s mom said to her dad. “My daughter?” her dad said in surprise. “You’re daughter!”
Spirit was something Jenna always had. Even when she was a two years old, she had energy and drive. When she wanted something, she worked at it until she got it. Jenna had spirit and she was not going to be denied.
Jenna had spirit, the kind of energy that makes things exciting and alive. Philip had a Spirit, too. But he had God’s Spirit. God’s Spirit is more than excited energy. It makes things better for people. It heals people’s bodies and hearts. It mends people’s relationships. Jenna has spirit, but we have a better Spirit. God’s Spirit.
Bridging Question: What does love look like?
Gospel: John 14:15-21
Jesus said to his followers:
If you love me, you will obey my commands to love others. I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper, the Spirit, who will always stay with you. The Helper is God’s Spirit of truth, whom the people only concerned about this world cannot accept because they do not see him or know him. You know the Helper because he stays near you and is in you.
I will not leave you alone, for I will come to you again. In a while, the people only concerned about this world won’t see me anymore. But, because I live, you will see me and you will live. On that last day, you will know I am in my Father, I am in you, and you are in me.
Everyone who obeys the commands of love I give loves me. My Father will love everyone who loves me. I will love them too. And I will show them who I really am.
“Let’s play twenty questions, Dad,” Lenny said. “You begin.”
“Okay,” his dad replied. “I’ve thought something.”
“Is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?” Lenny asked. “None of those,” his dad said. “None?” Lenny said surprised. “”None.”
“Can it touch you?” Lenny said.
“Kind of,” his dad replied.
“Can you feel it?” Lenny asked.
“Definitely!” his dad said.
“Can you see it?” Lenny asked.
“In a way ‘yes’ and in a way ‘no’,” his dad said smiling.
“Dad! You’re impossible!” Lenny complained.
“Come on, let’s play the game,” his dad responded.
“Okay, it not anything of this earth, you can kind of touch it, you can really feel it, and you can see it but you can’t. I know, it’s a space alien!” Lenny exclaimed. “No,” his dad said barely holding back his laughter.
“Well, then. Give me a hint! Does it really exist?” Lenny demanded. “Yes, it really exists and it works in you and through you. That’s my hint,” his dad said smiling.
“In me and through me?” Lenny said puzzled. “I know. It’s blood. Blood flows in me and through me.” “Good answer, Lenny, but it’s not the right answer,” his dad replied.
“Does someone else help me with this thing?” Lenny asked.
“Yes!” his dad said. “You’re getting warmer.”
“Does someone have to be alive to have this thing?” Lenny asked.
“Yes,” his dad said. “You’re getting even warmer.”
“Is it something you have or something you do?” Lenny inquired.
“Actually, both,” his dad said.
“Okay. I have this thing and I do this thing. I have to be alive to have this thing. And other people help me with this thing. You’ve making this real hard, Dad,” Lenny said frustrated.
“Then, let me give you one more hint. When you have this thing, you show people who you really are,” his dad said.
“I know!” Lenny said. Then Lenny walked over to his dad, hugged him tight, and said “It’s love, Dad.” Lenny’s dad gave him a big hug back.
Love is something you have and you do. It’s a feeling and a way to give. You have to be truly alive to love. But, you need others to help you love.
When someone is nice to you, it is easier to be nice to someone else. So, love is something you pass along. And when you pass love along, you show people the real you, what you are like inside.
Jesus tells us to love others the way he loves the Father and the way he loves us. To give to others the way he gives to us. In that way, we can show others we are loving people who worship a loving God. When we love others, we show what God is really like. God is love!
Closing Question: How can you show others God’s love? How can you pass his love along to others?