by Bob Wickizer

Killing The Dove
Bob Wickizer
Acts 2:14,22-32; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31

We have a full plate today of things we could talk about: Baptism, Eucharist, doubting Thomas, Earth day and our stewardship of the earth. But somehow one phrase kept sticking in my mind as I read the Gospel over and over. This is where the resurrected Jesus appears to the disciples in the locked upper room, and he breathes on them while saying ''Receive the Holy Spirit.'' Our newly baptized, Linley Kate, received the Holy Spirit in baptism this morning. So I wondered, how we actually receive the Holy Spirit and how it might make a difference in our lives or the lives of others.

Most of us go through life without the vaguest idea of what the Holy Spirit is let alone how we get it and how it might make a difference. You are probably familiar with the stories of the baptism of Jesus where the dove descends from heaven and God's voice comes from the clouds, ''This is my Son with whom I am well-pleased.'' One bright Pentecost Sunday in a Silicon Valley Episcopal church, the rector fashioned himself as an engineer-turned-priest and wanted to impress upon the congregation how Pentecost was the giving of the Holy Spirit to the church. He built some simple circuitry to pick up the signal from his television remote control. Near the ceiling in the tall church he placed a cage with a live white dove early that morning. The cage had a circuit to receive the remote signal and to open the door to the cage. The poor bird had been up there all morning. By 11:00 the sun is blazing on the roof. At the critical moment of the rector's sermon he presses a button on the remote control, the door to the cage in the ceiling clangs open and onto the floor of the church drops a dead white dove.

All of you who have been baptized have been sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ's own forever just like Linley Kate. You do not want to kill the dove.

So perhaps the flip side of ...

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