Homily for the fifth Sunday of Easter - Becoming the love of the vine

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Good morning, bus riders!


We have now reached the fifth Sunday of Easter. That means the Easter season is ramping up. I hope everyone here is practicing being Jesus resurrected and becoming comfortable with being a Saint.


In today’s readings we hear about Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch.


Raise you hand if you think Philip did some strange things, above and beyond the abilities of normal people.


<Look for raised hands.>


When we read, “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more,” that is like <poof> and Philip was gone, right?


In Luke 24:30-31 is written, “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.” That event took place at Cleopas and Mary’s house, in Emmaus. Jesus was who they recognized after they heard a voice give thanks and break bread, but the man at their table did not look like the Jesus they knew. Then <poof> he disappeared.


Last week was Good Shepherd Sunday, where we read from John’s Gospel, chapter 10. Not read last Sunday, but a continuation of that chapter was John telling about Jesus making the Pharisees mad. John wrote, “Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.” The Greek text can imply they physically tried to put their hands on Jesus, but he simply disappeared … like as if he were a hologram.


Remember back on Easter Sunday, when the reading was of Jesus telling Mary Magdalene, “You cannot touch me.” Do you recall how I suggested Jesus was an appearance that was not real; so, Mary could not physically embrace that image?


All of this is relative to Philip in this reading from Acts. Philip existed in the real world. He was preaching in Samaria. Then, he was raised to a spiritual level, by Yahweh, and sent spiritually to the Ethiopian eunuch. So, Philip was an appearance to that man, just like Jesus appeared as a stranger to those who knew him. Philip was raised as Jesus' soul, looking like Philip to an Ethiopian who knew neither.


This is the way I look at what Christians should be practicing. It is much like renewing the imaginations of children, but as mature adults and specific to Scripture.


When Jesus walked the road to Emmaus with his aunt and uncle, he was explaining Scripture to them, in ways they had never had it explained before. As a stranger pilgrim, he told them the meaning behind the words they had memorized. This story of Philip is another example of the same thing.


When one reads the Holy Bible, one does so without one's inner child desire to imagine the depth of the words written. We read Scripture [or listen to someone read Scripture to us] and it becomes ho-hum, in one ear out the other. It paints a two-dimensional picture with words; and, our adult brains tell us “That’s all there is.”


We have to practice being like Philip and transport our souls back in time, so we become part of that picture and it becomes real … through our imagination.


Now, this is where being married to Yahweh comes in. Without His help … which is the whole point of this story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch … adult brains can come up with all kinds of wild imaginations that lead them all over the place, never getting to the truth.


I watched a YouTube broadcast of a local Baptist minister preaching about the doubt Thomas had. He read aloud the Scripture that told Thomas was not there when Jesus first appeared to the disciples. He said repeatedly, “We are not told where Thomas was.” His imagination was not led divinely to be there and know why Thomas was not there. Because he did not have Yahweh guide his imagination, he made wild guesses.


Then, he obviously had read the bad translation of John 20:26, where that bad translation says, “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them.” I explained that it was not a week later. It would be impossible for the numbering of fifty days to have that much time pass. The mistranslation is based on not knowing that Jews ritually count the days from Passover to Pentecost [the fiftieth day], such that John simply wrote, “After the days eighth,” which means, “Later, that evening.”


The Baptist minister went on and on about how Thomas knew Jesus had appeared to his fellow disciples, but not him. He painted an untrue picture of the misery Thomas must have gone through, from having to fret over that rejection for a week!


That is why one needs to be led by Yahweh to be there, one with the scene, part of the setting, a character in the play, and feel the reality that was then, now.


Philip’s soul did that when Yahweh called upon him to become a “Messenger” that would transport the Ethiopian eunuch back to the time when Isaiah was writing what the eunuch was reading.


The key verses in the Acts reading today say, “So Philip ran up to [the chariot] and heard [the eunuch] reading the prophet Isaiah. [Philip] asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” [The eunuch] replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And [the eunuch] invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.”


Can you see how that is why we read from the Book of Acts during the Easter season?


Can you see that those married to Yahweh must be practicing explaining what Scripture means, so when one enters into ministry one is sent by Yahweh to find seekers like the Ethiopian eunuch and make it so they can see for themselves what the truth says?


<Look for nodding heads.>


That is why Christians are trained to answer questions of faith and commitment by answering, "With God's help I will."


Everything depends on having divine assistance. Jesus called that a “Helper” or an “Advocate” [from “Paraklētos”]. Jesus then added that help is called the “Spirit” that makes one “Holy” … a Saint … one that can transport to the times of Scripture and become one with what is written. He added His “Messengers” would be sent by the Father in the name of Jesus. That says a soul is married to Yahweh and from that union the soul of Jesus is then resurrected within one’s flesh.


In that verse [John 14:26], Jesus finally added that the soul of Jesus reborn in a Saint will, “remind you of all that I have said to you.”


In Psalm 22, today we heard sung, “The poor shall eat and be satisfied” and “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn back to Yahweh.”


It is important to realize how that is singing about the poor of spirit being fed spiritual food. Satisfaction comes from understanding that which one has been fed. It means having a holy book means reading holy words leaves one wanting more. Without God, one is poor in knowledge; but being enabled to understand, through union with Yahweh then brings understanding that satisfies all spiritual needs.


When David sang about “all ends of the earth,” one needs to realize how far away Ethiopia is from Jerusalem.


When Jesus told his disciples that Yahweh would send a “Spirit” that would speak to them as Jesus inside their bodies, “to remind you of all I have said to you,” you must hear those words coming from Yahweh, through Jesus. So, Jesus saying “I have said” becomes Yahweh speaking about all the spiritual food present in the Torah, through the Psalms, and through the Prophets. It would even include those who would write the Word of Yahweh after Jesus.


The memories come from one’s soul returning to the events written of, as becoming one with Yahweh.


In the first two verses of Psalm 22, those read today, we hear “I will perform my vows,” which then leads one to rejoice: “Let live your heart forever.” Those verses sing about the marriage of one’s soul to Yahweh. That is what brings about the promises Jesus made in John 14:26.


This is where David’s song lyrics are being precursors of the “love” theme in first John chapter four and the metaphor Jesus spoke of, as the vine.


The “love” is the flow of Yahweh’s Spirit that makes one Holy [a Saint], meaning that “love” is also the truth that gives life.


In John’s chapter four of his first epistle, he wrote some form of the word “love,” including “loved, loving, should love, I love, and Beloved,” a total of twenty-nine times. All that is in a spread of fifteen verses; but three verses in the middle have none of those references. Take away the three, and twenty-nine in twelve verses says John wrote some form of “love” 2.4 times per verse.


I wonder if the Beatles – high on whatever it was they were getting high on back in 1967 – read 1 John 4:7-21 before they wrote the song “All You Need is Love”?


According to the lyrics to that song [LyricFind] there are 362 words. Of those, 73 are the word “love.” That is twenty percent!


If “peace” and “love” are all we need to make the world a better place, why hasn’t the world been a better place?


<Look for puzzled faces.>


The answer is simple: Human beings tend to define such concepts as “love” and “peace” in physical terms, not spiritual ones.


I am fairly sure the twenty-something Beatles were physically feeling “peace” and “love” from drug-induced states of being. Their Indian gurus might have talked a lot about spiritual love and karmic peace; but the Beatles could never figure out what any of that meant … in a real world, with real problems. Back then there were a whole lot of people who were against “tuning in and dropping out.” They saw the sham of "free love" as amoral, meaning little more than free to "love thyself" over everyone else.


Seeing “love” like that is why people like the Ethiopian eunuch was reading the scroll of Isaiah and scratching his head about what it meant. How is “love” found in the slaughter of an innocent sacrificial lamb?


It cannot be explained in physical terms, which includes the way most people define “love” … as the physical expression of an emotion … an emotion that can range from feeling for one’s mother [or relatives] to elation from hitting the jackpot in a casino, to being full of raging hormones that block all mentality that does not bow down before one's personal lust.


John explained that “love is from God.”


When he wrote, “everyone who loves is born of God and knows God,” that sounds like David singing out, “Let live your heart forever.”


There, the Hebrew word translated as “heart” [“lebab”] means, “inner man, mind, will, heart.” It has absolutely nothing to do with the physical organ that begins to beat faster when one physically is primed for sex or heavy petting. The “heart” is synonymous with the “soul,” which must ‘fall in love’ with Yahweh and become one with His Spirit … which makes one Holy … a Saint.


If one wants to make a physical organ out of “heart,” listen to what John wrote next: “We know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”


That says when one has married Yahweh, He is in the heart of us, just as we are the little hearts that pump his Spirit in, out, and around … in a spiritual circulatory system.


This concept of “abiding,” where John wrote “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them,” has to be seen in the “vine” Jesus spoke of.


After all, what is the “vine” if it is not God, because Jesus said [according to the Greek text], “ I am this vine this made of truth.”


That equates “truth” to the “love” that comes from God and is the at the core of all “who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them,” where “love is truth and truth is love."


Jesus said, “Abide in me as I abide in you,” when he spoke of being the vine. This becomes how one defines “love.”


Think of a tree in your yard. The tree extends from the roots to the trunk, to the branches, to the leaves, and to whatever fruit it produces. In the internal processes of the tree, where water and nutrients flows upward and outward [in the spring and summer] and inward and downward [in the fall and winter], that is the essence of “love.” What the tree needs, the tree provides. There are no emotions involved in a tree. It simply does what a tree does; and, Yahweh must be seen in that same metaphorical light.


When Jesus spoke for Yahweh, saying, “Abide in me as I abide in you,” that is Yahweh’s “love” as the source of life. When John wrote, “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them,” that says, “God is life, and for those who live in God, God lives in them.”


"Love" is a state of being relative to Yahweh. It simply is the presence of God. It is not caused by emotional desires; but the presence of God in a human body will cause spiritual elation, from an inner peace that is void of human emotions.


Can you see that? It is most important to see this for yourselves.


<Look for nodding heads and quizzical looks.>


Yahweh’s “love” is eternal life. Eternal life is given to a new lifeform at birth, as a soul; but that life needs to be seen as relative to the physical realm … like a tree.


A tree seed falls to the ground and takes root, having been given life. However, the life of a soul in the physical realm goes through springs and summers, where growth takes place; but then comes fall and winter, which reflect old age and death. The tree then symbolizes reincarnation, through its seasonal changes. The tree continues on like a soul, so a soul is like a tree that is the same soul, with different branches over many lives.


This is where one needs to see the warnings stated in Psalm 22, in First John, and in what Jesus said in John’s Gospel.


In David’s song, he first said “The poor will eat and satisfied.” What is difficult to see, due to a poor translation, is how he followed that by singing, “All the prosperous shall eat in worship and bow down before the dust.”


That speaks of all those who say they serve God, but only consume the word of Scripture without divine assistance to understand what they feed on. They turn Scripture into a self-fulfilling prophecy, as if Yahweh promised them material gains by being religious.


That was true when Jesus came and it is true now, in all levels of Christianity. People will deny marriage to Yahweh because they feel the prosperity of life on earth is God’s gift to them.


It is not.


The warning is to a soul, upon its body’s return to dust at death. Being mortals, death is when we all will be judged in the “all or nothing” category, as far as eternal life is concerned. A soul is either married to Yahweh or it is married to the material world. There is no 'point system,' where keeping a picture of Jesus in your wallet will allow a soul eternal life.


David wrote (basically), “Money cannot buy you eternal life.”


This means “the poor” means every soul, before it married Yahweh. Religious texts feed those souls toward marriage; and, those who marry Yahweh will be satisfied. However, those poor souls who measure humans by monetary values, they will refuse marriage to Yahweh, even when fed the same spiritual food as children.


The Ethiopian eunuch asked Yahweh for guidance; and, He sent Philip’s soul to rescue him. He rejoiced when he married Yahweh, more than any wealthy man would celebrate another mega-deal and windfall profit.


Jesus then gave the warning, “Apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”


In that, again, one must hear Yahweh speaking through the Son. Yahweh says, “Not married to Me makes a soul nothing.”


Yahweh then said, “If I am not your vine made from truth, then you will wither and fall off [death] or be fruitless and be pruned away.”


Of course, the metaphor of a dead branch thrown in the fire and burned must be seen in the terms of reincarnation. However, losing everything and having to start all over again is one thing. To be cast into the outer darkness and kept from ever marrying Yahweh is an eternal condemnation.


Finally, when John wrote in his letter, “Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”


That says people who marry their churches or become hired hands of denominations of Christianity, they put on sweatshirts that proclaim what team they play for. The priests and bishops become the players and coaches of an organization. The congregations become their fans. It makes religion become a sport or game.


Every time different “Christians” come together it becomes us versus them. It creates rivalries and "old fashioned hate" becomes a contest to see who can defeat the other, and make believe winning means God loves one more than the other. It become warfare, where Christians hate one another and each team wants to be on the winning side … closer to Yahweh.


I can assure you that heaven has no special rooms set aside for fans of some university football program. Neither does it have special rooms for Roman Catholics or Episcopalians or Baptists. If one loves something of this world more than one loves Yahweh, then one will not know God and one will hate those who have married Yahweh and do know Him.


Someone like Philip entering a church today would tell the priests and assemblies, "You have it wrong. Let me share the truth with you." The truth being told to disbelievers is what causes Jesus to be crucified time and time again.


This returns me to the definition of “God’s love” being “eternal life.” There are no sides when true Christianity exists. A soul married to Yahweh no longer has any opinion. Like Philip, one is sent out into ministry; in his case, he was sent by God to Samaria.


Then Yahweh called Philip to “elevate his soul” and leave his body in Samaria, so he could teleport to one in need of hearing Yahweh’s marriage proposal. He went there too.


The Isaiah read was about the silence of the lamb, while being sheared, before sacrificing its life in service to God … because that was God’s Will.


Hate is expressed in words. Love is expressed in acts.


I think I see the bus coming. Thank you all for listening; and, have a great week practicing being Jesus.


Amen