Crazy Love

Sermon from June 9, 2019
Acts 2: 1-21
St. John’s, Silsbee, Texas

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Fourteen years ago, a historic moment happened that was broadcast on American television.
You see, in 2005, the actor Tom Cruise appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show.
In that episode of Oprah, Tom Cruise was newly in love with his girlfriend, Katie Holmes.
And in that Oprah episode, Tom Cruise bounces around the set, he falls down on one knee in front of Oprah, and he jumps up and down on the couch whenever Katie Holmes’ name is mentioned, shouting out:
“I’m in love! I’m in love! I’m in love!”

After jumping on the couch, Oprah says in astonishment to Tom Cruise:
“Tom, something has happened to you.
What has happened to you to make you do all these crazy things?”

After Tom Cruise’s infamous display of love for Katie Holmes,
Folks around the country began to find the whole display to be quite unbelievable.
(And in fact, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes actually did get a divorce just 7 years later).
Yet anyhow, in thinking of Tom Cruise’s behavior in 2005, how could anyone act so crazy, and so enthusiastic, and so illogically in love, especially by jumping on furniture on national TV?
Was Tom Cruise crazy?
Or was he just plain drunk?

couch

Two thousand years ago, on a Pentecost morning, the city of Jerusalem is filled with thousands of people, celebrating the Jewish festival of Pentecost.
However, the followers of Jesus are huddled together in one place, still in bewilderment that the risen Jesus whom they loved had just ascended into heaven 10 days before.
Then a huge sound from heaven, like the wind from a hurricane, fills the entire house.
Flames of fire appear over each of Jesus’ followers.
They are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to speak in other languages.
The disciples run out of the house, speaking in ways that everyone can understand.

The crowd witnesses these crazy things.
The crowd witnesses all this jumping around and hopping onto couches and asks:
“What has happened to you to make you do all these crazy things?
Are you Galileans crazy?
Or are you just plain drunk?”

Whether we are watching Tom Cruise jump on the couch on the Oprah Winfrey Show,
Or whether we are watching the disciples of Jesus make fools of themselves on Pentecost by running around with flames on their heads and acting drunk,
We cannot fully understand – the craziness of being in love.
We cannot fully understand – the craziness of the love of Jesus.

Today is the Day of Pentecost.
Today is the day when we remember that – 50 days after the Resurrection, 50 days after Easter Day – the followers of Jesus are filled with crazy love.
We call this crazy and unpredictable love of Jesus by a special name.
We call this crazy love of Jesus:
The Holy Spirit.

And this Holy Spirit gives us boldness and power to love people in ways that we could never do on our own power.
I know, from my own experience, that I cannot fully love other people, without the crazy power of the Holy Spirit.

Many years ago, when I was a parish priest in Waco, I listened to the story of a man who had come to my office.
This man who had come my office – was so drunk with cheap liquor, that his entire body reeked and smelled horrific.
Just by smelling this man, I was convinced – that I was going to vomit.

So my prayer to the Holy Spirit was very specific:
I prayed that the Holy Spirit would give me power, power so that I could love this man and pray with this man – and not throw up all over him.
And when I had loved this man and prayed with this man, without being overcome by nausea:

I felt like jumping on the couch!
I felt like jumping on the couch, as a witness to the crazy love of God for other people, that works through the Holy Spirit, working through me!

You see, a lot of times, I am not naturally a very loving and bold and courageous human being.
Many times, I have no choice but to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit – if
If I am going to try to love other people whom I don’t really want to love, but whom Jesus wants me to love anyway.

Because where the power of Jeff Fisher stops, that is where the crazy Spirit of Jesus steps in.
Where the power of Jeff Fisher stops, that is where the Holy Spirit steps in:
To fill in the gaps, so that I can love people in the way that Jesus wants me to love people.

When Jesus was on this earth, he showed us God’s love.
And now, the Holy Spirit of Jesus is still here on this earth:
Showing us that God is still in love with me,
Showing us that God is still in love with you.

For Jesus still invites us sinners to dinner.
Jesus still rejoices when one lost sheep is found.
Jesus still weeps for his friends who have died.
Jesus still raises people from the dead.
And Jesus still jumps up and down on the couch whenever your name is mentioned,
Because God is so crazy in love with you.

And that spirit of love,
That spirit of enthusiasm,
That spirit of craziness,
Is the same Holy Spirit that was poured out on all people on the Day of Pentecost.

That same crazy Holy Spirit gives us the power, the power to say “I love you” to a sibling whom you have disliked for years.
That crazy Holy Spirit gives us the power, the power to forgive ourselves for all the mistakes we have made.
That crazy Holy Spirit gives us the power, the power to not flip off somebody who cuts us off on the highway.

For the Holy Spirit gives us the power to love.
The Holy Spirit fills in the gap,
When we cannot love based on our own power.

After jumping on the couch on the Oprah Winfrey show, Oprah asked her famous guest:
“Tom, what has happened to you to make you do all these crazy things?”

Two thousand years ago, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, the followers of Jesus are accused of being drunk, and the crowd asks:
“What has happened to you all to make you do all these crazy things?”

And today, on this Day of Pentecost, I hope that we will be so loving and so forgiving and so bold that everyone will ask us:
“What has happened to you to make you do all these crazy things?”

And then we will jump on the couch and shout out:

{with animation and jumping around}
I’m in love! I’m in love! I’m in love!
I’m crazy in love with all of God’s people!
Because I’m filled with the Holy Spirit…

Of love!

AMEN.

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