Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The Church in Central New York founded and consistently fostered by the GLBTQIS community. October 31, 2018 was the 35th Anniversary in our 36th year in Ministry.
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Sermon for RESURRECTION 6th SUNDAY B 5/28/00


The following are the Scripture readings as scheduled in the "Revised Common Lectionary," an ecumenical schedule of readings of Holy Scripture. Our sermons are based on these readings.

Acts 10:44-48

44While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47ďCan anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?Ē 48So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

Psalm 98

1 O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. 2 The LORD has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations. 3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. 4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises. 5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. 6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD. 7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it. 8 Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy 9 at the presence of the LORD, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

1 John 5:1-6

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ£ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 5Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? Testimony concerning the Son of God 6This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.

This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

John 15:9-17

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Fatherís commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12ďThis is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down oneís life for oneís friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants£ any longer, because the servant£ does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Reader: This is the Gospel of the Lord; Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Brother Benedict, Sermon 221

The Sixtn Week of our celebration of the Resurrection Of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ May 28, 2000

Acts 10:44-48 Psalm 98 1John 5:1-6 John 15:9-17

Today we begin the sixth week of the season of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I need to make a service announcement here while I have your undivided attention. We were going to celebrate the Ascension during the Bible Studies this coming week, however, since we took two weeks to hold discussions in preparation for Bishopís visit, I have decided to have us celebrate the Ascension next weekend.

However, for the record, this Thursday is in fact the end of the "Great Forty Days" after the Sunday of the Resurrection. Can you believe that forty days has passed since Resurrection Sunday?

Hopefully we are gaining a respect for how quickly our lives are going by and how urgent it is that we pay attention to the Word Of God, and that we take the time to respond to it with all our hearts, souls and minds, because putting the Word off for some other time in our lives could mean we end up missing it completely quite easily.

Today's first reading is one that is very important for us as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning, and Enlightened Heterosexual persons. In this reading, Peter is preaching and the Holy Spirit comes upon all the listeners. You may be thinking that is no big deal... Well, it was a very big deal because these listeners were Gentiles, non-Jews. The reading says: "The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles." (Acts 10:45) The Jewish converts to Christianity were "astounded" that the Holy Spirit was fall on the Gentiles. This was one of many in a series of events where the Holy Spirit came upon Gentiles in spite of the objections of the Jewish Christians. The Jewish Christians thought Christianity was only possible for those who had been Jewish first. The Jewish-Christians wanted to first convert the Gentiles to be Jews to prepare them for accepting their Jewish Messiah, and only after the Gentiles were Jews convert them to Christianity. This made for a very long road to Christ and His Church. Learning all that is required for conversion to Judaism first and then to Christianity seemed like a lot of work.

It was a lot of work, and it was not the plan of God. When people asked Jesus what was the work of God, Jesus answered "The work of God is to believe in the one God has sent." (John 6:29) Perhaps the Jewish-Christian Bishops forgot that since they wanted to add steps to the path that Jesus had established making full Judaism a prerequisite.

However our second reading sets the Doctrine of Salvation right out on the table. It reads: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child." (1 John 5:1) These Gentiles believed in Jesus and therefore were filled with the Holy Spirit on the very spot. This is very significant for us.

With this example for our confidence, let's ask ourselves the very difficult question; How do we know the majority of the modern Church is wrong in their dogmatic position on rejecting all sexual orientations that differ from a very narrow view of heterosexuality, which they define only by genital activity?

We know they are wrong because like the Jewish Christian Bishops, modern bishops have added conditions, being either a person must be heterosexual (limiting that definition to only genital physical actions and not even thoughts and feelings), or celibate and only then can they be Christian. Once again the Methodists and now even some of the American Baptists, some Presbyterians, and of course the Roman Church have all restated this position... hetero or celibate first and then you can be Christian.

Well, just as the first century Bishops were mistaken and God proved it over time by millions of Gentiles coming into the Church and even being great Theologians and Clergy in the Church (St. Augustine, St. Francis, St. Thomas A., St. Benedict, etc.) so too, the twenty-first century bishops are wrong on their position on sexual orientation, and God is proving it over time by the continuous incoming of millions of GLBTQ persons and our heterosexual friends and family into the Church of Jesus Christ.

God has a marvelous sense of humor. It seems, the louder the anti-gay Christians yell that God hates GLBTQ persons, the more GLBTQ persons come out to Christ and those around them every day. The truth is we are living proof that it is absolutely not true that God hates us, or that we do not want to be Christians. Just like in our first reading tonight, God is breaking man-made rules.

God is saying anyone, everyone, anyone who, those who, the one who, all who will believe in Godís Only Begotten Son has eternal life and will not perish; even if this goes against all the man-made rules of the so-called church.

1 John 5:4b says; "And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith." Praise the Lord, Halleluia! By our faith experience we are reminded that we know that we know that we know that we know the truth that we are in Christ and Christ is in us, in spite of all the noise the so-called church makes and contends that we are lost. Our faith testifies louder than their screaming at us. We have our experience of Christ as our proof. We have our experience of Scripture being alive as our proof.

The Gospel today is another "in you" Gospel. Here Jesus again sets the criterion for successful relationship with Him as being to listen and obey His commands, His teachings. That does make sense.

If we are Christian, we listen to Christ and follow the words and the teachings of Jesus. Other people place their eternal destiny into the hands of the Buddha, or the Krishna, we follow Christ and every word that we have from His own mouth as He really lived, died, rose and ascended in the flesh.

Further, today's Gospel says Jesus wants us to be joyful, and to share in His complete joy. (John 15:11) Joy, that is Christ's agenda for us. That doesn't sound like a mean and vengeful God to me. God wants us to have Godís own Joy, the Joy that spoke the universe into being. This is true Joy and is available to us for believing in Jesus.

The society works tirelessly to provide us with entertainment as a supposed source of joy. We have an "entertainment industry." The entertainment industry does about as much commerce as the petroleum industry, as the education industry, as the health industry, etc. Why do we need an entertainment industry?

Human beings are basically a very unhappy lot! Now, this is really an untouchable topic by ministers who want to keep people happy to make a lot of money. Think about it, we promise unconditional, complete satisfaction for everything from a the latest song, CD, movie, candy, frozen food, vacation package, to the best looking caskets in the prettiest cemeteries, your full and complete satisfaction guaranteed. Why this constant battle to satisfy? What are we trying to overpower?

We are trying to come to terms with sin and evil and the fear that is deep in the heart of every human being that if one stops long enough to be quiet one might lose control and might allow these fears to be expressed and one might panic, one might despair, worse, one might be overcome and want to die. So, every industry around us promises us if we use their products, by their insurance, use their lawyers, go to this hospital over that one we will be fully and completely satisfied. What is our experience as we use these products and entertainments?

We find entertaining things do often provide a temporary relief from lifeís stresses. We find products do often satisfy our temporary wants, appetites and needs. However, we all know these things and even ideas and philosophies only temporarily satisfy us and help to momentarily face our fears and sorrows. Therefore faced with the fact they only temporarily satisfy us we become consumers, consuming more and more of these remedies, products, and entertainments, running ever faster and harder from fear, sin, from death.

Into this picture God came crashing in the Divine Person of Jesus Christ.

Why did Christ come to the world? Christ came to save us from this very thing we are running from: the fear of sin and death. Christ came to show us we are being lied to, that death is not the end of a long and miserable life. Christ came to prove to us that meaningless existence, struggle to survive, and a death after one is totally exhausted from trying to survive as the meaning of life is a filthy lie propagated by the Father of Lies, the one who was a liar from the beginning, Satan the father of sin and death.

We are meant to live forever. We are meant to be in joyous rapture in the presence of God for all ages. We are meant to have bodies free from sickness, free from aging, free from failure. We are meant to have the Mind of Christ, the Mind of God. We are meant to have the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We are meant to know all things without having to struggle to learn and retain. We are meant to be in full communication with all creation, full harmony with the Universe.

Our souls know this is God's design for us, and propel us onward to union with God. Our minds misunderstand this constant desire for God and the mind thinks it is a desire for satisfaction here in this world, and so our minds try to create as much of this eternal satisfaction in the world we live in now with its passing resources. Our hearts choose to honor men and women and our feeble philosophies, remedies, theories, and accomplishments instead of the only One who is worthy of all our praises, the God of all.

Jesus came to say, follow me and I will take you out of your narrow vision and your endless attempts to make a passing world provide you with eternal reality. Follow me, Jesus says, and I will raise you up, and you shall begin your journey to my Fatherís House where there are endless mansions. Then we shall really know joy and have it eternally.

We do not have to wait to begin life after death though. Jesus rose from the dead and promised His abiding, real presence all the days of our lives, even to the end of the age. (Matt. 28:19) So, this is the day the Lord has made, right now!!!!! This day is made for us to listen, and follow Jesus, to fix our minds, our hearts, our souls on Him and His ways. He alone can provide all we need. Most importantly, He alone can make us joyful and deeply satisfied.

This is the reason I love the word Gay to represent my sexual orientation. I am no more or less happy than anyone else in their sexual orientation, but I know who I am because Jesus came into my confusion and sorrow and gave me joy, real joy. Jesus Has provided the satisfaction I needed and He alone is my verification, my certification, my confirmation that God gave me all the gifts I have and one of the most beautiful is my sexual orientation, and I am called to celebrate it even though the Bishops and elders are mistakenly saying I am condemned or at least not able to be a Christian. This is the same exact mistake the Bishops made in today's first reading during the first months of the Christian Church.

Draw strength from today's readings, that God will do what God is going to do regardless of human leaders, and God will give you total joy, and peace while God fulfills His Will for you. And one more thing, this may be the only time it really means what it says.... With God and Christ and the Holy Spirit in charge of your eternity, you are truly guaranteed complete, total satisfaction or your money back!

To God in Christ and the Holy Spirit be all honor and glory, world without end, Amen.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

May Almighty God bless all of us, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


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