to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
you all hear me okay?
Can you hear me now?
Can…. YOU… HEAR ME Now?
many of you have uttered this phrase on a
google chat, or zoom meeting in the past two
months? How many people have meticulously
figured out the best wifi reception areas
and cell phone reception areas in your house?
At our house, we have moved tables, purchased
better headphones with microphones, and are
trying our best to make sure that all all
four of us can be heard during our constant
sometimes, the internet is down, or the other
people on the call are still struggling to
get their video conferencing technology to
we just cannot hear one another.
a parent, I struggle everyday to not only
physical hear my children, but to comprehend
what they are telling me.
Are they scared?
Are they anxious?
Are they overwhelmed?
a parent, if I don’t understand right
away, my kids get flustered and frustrated.
our world today, we have so many people who
feel like they are going unheard.
The hungry, the poor, the marginalized, the
outcasts in our communities.
see, once again, in the data that African
American communities are being hit the hardest
by COVID-19. Do we hear the pleas for racial
are being sent back to work, but childcare
options are limited. Does Ohio’s Governor
hear the stress these families are in?
who have pre-existing conditions rightfully
see this virus as a life and death issue.
Who hears their pleas for economic security
while they shelter in place?
are those who want a return to normalcy and
some are picking up guns and making threats
against public leaders so that their voices
may be heard.
we may not always hear one another, Jesus
always does. Jesus sits and eats with prostitutes
and tax collectors, Jesus feeds the hungry
and heals the sick. Jesus didn’t need
swords to be heard but was able to spread
a message of God’s grace through acts
do we – as followers of Jesus - hear
the pleas of our neighbors? How are we called
to make sure that the world can hear them?
promises the Disciples an advocate –
the Holy Spirit – to continue to be
with them even after Jesus’ physical
body leaves this earth. The advocate hears
our pleas even when we can’t form the
have a God who came to earth, walks with us,
eats with us, and dies for us - because God
wanted to demonstrates a deep commitment and
love for humanity - Emmanuel – God with
us. No matter what we do, God will always
leave the line open. God will always be there
for us to offer healing and restoration.
roll of the advocate isn’t to be eloquent,
but to improve lines of communication. The
Holy Spirit as Advocate helps us to hear God’s
will for us.
Gospel today says that those who love God
will Keep Gods Commandments.Jesus taught the
Disciples that all the commandments should
be viewed as loving God and loving our neighbor,
but how do we love our neighbor in a world
where we must remain apart? We have an opportunity
as church together to stop and listen to how
God is calling us to be church together for
the sake of the world.
many of you know, I am the director of the
Hunger Network in Ohio – a statewide
faith-based non-profit that believes we can
end hunger by addressing the root causes of
poverty. We do advocacy. We recently conducted
a statewide survey of social ministry organizations.
Only 15% of congregations reported beginning
new social ministries to meet changing needs
during this COVID-19 crisis. One example I
really enjoyed was how one congregation adapted
to meet the technology barriers their neighbors
were facing.They set upwifi hot spots in their
parking lot to help students continue to learn.
listened to the needs.
They listened to God calling them.
They acted as the Church.
I will be the first to confess that when the
Holy Spirit calls me, I ghost the Holy Ghost
and send the Advocate to Voicemail.
the Holy Spirit doesn’t give up.Sometimes
my busy life gets in the way. The dog is barking,
the kids want to play, work messages are piling
up, but the Holy Spirit keeps trying to reach
all of us. Sometimes the connection might
not be clear, sometimes the Holy Spirit will
use interesting messengers. In the end, if
we keep listening, we will realize that God
I began my career as an advocate on issues
of homelessness and hunger, I thought my job
would be to eloquently convince legislators
that my cause was just. But the Holy Spirit
guided me to put my own ego in check and learn
to be an advocate. I remember one of my first
trips to DC in the mid-2000s, we worked on
improving financial aid for independently
homeless youth trying to go to college. See
they didn’t have their parents financial
information so they were being denied. Nobody
was against these changes, but they were so
small for many in Congress to pay attention
to. As an advocate for these youth, it wasn’t
my job to convince Congress to prioritize
them. No, as the advocate, it was my job to
drive the van and scheduled the meetings for
the youth. We had positive meetings that day
with Dennis Kucinich, Jim Jordan and the majority
of the Ohio delegation - the law was passed
a few weeks later.
advocate helps those who are marginalized
to be heard. The advocate equips us to get
to where we need to be.
is God calling on us right now as church together
to speak for those who are afraid in a changing
world? How is God equipping us right now to
be a sacred and beloved community focused
on guaranteeing that all receive their daily
bread? How is God pushing us into new spaces
to show a radical and never ending love for
those who have lost hope?
the church, how is the Holy Spirit accompanying
us in responding to this crisis?
the body of Christ in the world – we
are sustained in our worship so that we may
be sent out. In a few weeks, we will celebrate
one of the Christian Churches most holy of
days – Pentecost – the birthday
of the Church. The Church is created and sent
into the world to spread God’s love
in different and ever changing circumstances.
we are not sent alone.We are never alone.
We are sent with the Advocate to help us know
God’s will for us because God is Emmanuel.
you hear me now?
Can you hear your neighbor now?
Can you hear God’s call for you now?
Listen. Be still. Welcome the advocate into
your life, Be an advocate for your neighbor.