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Sermon Sunday May 12, 2024 Seventh Sunday of Easter
Lessons: Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
Psalm 1
1 John 5: 9-13
John 17:6-19
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit. Amen.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there! Just because
I don’t have kids doesn’t mean that I do not deeply
appreciate all that Moms do for their families, friends,
spouses, and especially their children. My hat’s off to you.
You are super people!
I don’t know why I passed the homeless man who was
sitting on the side of the road in front of the convenience
store. I do know why I went back to speak with him. It was
because of my classmate. She had hung back before going
into the store and decided to talk to the homeless fellow. We
had just seen a documentary about unhoused people, and the
thing that they wanted most was not necessarily money.
They wanted people to recognize that they exist, that they
are there, that somebody would see them and talk to them
like real human beings. They wanted somebody to

acknowledge that they matter, that they are seen, that they
are important. Obviously, my classmate had taken the
documentary to heart as a Christian. I was more determined
to make it home before it got dark and harder to see the
road. To heck with seeing the homeless person! I had
responsibilities! I had important things to do! More than
that, I was a really important person who didn’t have time to
waste on talking to this homeless guy. Once she had spoken
with the homeless person, my classmate made her way into
the convenience store, we bought what we had stopped to
get, and then made our way back to the car.
Well, on our next trip to the same place, my classmate saw
the homeless fellow again, sitting in the same spot. She
stopped to talk to him again. This time, I was feeling a bit
more magnanimous! Surely, I could condescend to stop and
offer a few words of consolation, or a bit of my wisdom, or a
prayer to this poor guy!
As it turned out, Kip, that was his name, ended up by
helping me to have a change of heart. Kip was the one who
offered words of wisdom, well, some really bad jokes that
made us laugh hysterically and helped us to live in the
moment and forget a lot about the every day stress that

accompanied our lives. Kip made me look at things
differently. Like I said, I had a change of heart—really, I
wasn’t the important one—Kip was the important one.
We began to really look forward to seeing Kip each month
on our trips to the area. He would always have a joke, or a
story, or some kind words for us. Kip had to move on to
Arizona for a few months, and when we would stop by the
convenience store, we would always look for him, but we
never saw him again. Yet, I do not forget Kip. Kip helped
me have a profound change of heart.
And, I believe that is one of the things that today’s lesson
from the Acts of the Apostles could be about. It is about a
change of how we look at things. It is about a change of how
we can think one thing and then something happens, and we
change how we approach something. It can be about how
God never changes, but how our understanding of God can
change and grow into a change in our lives.
In today’s lesson, the apostles have a problem. They have
been gathered together, praying intensely with the women
who followed Jesus, including his mother Mary and his
brothers. Now, Judas is no longer part of the apostles,
having died, presumably by his own hand. Let us not take

Judas’ death as a condemnation of those who may commit
suicide. Let us remember that those who commit suicide are
also beloved children of God, but whose minds may not be
the clearest in the moment that they may act on that
Still, Peter does talk about Judas’ death, and the necessity of
having to make a replacement so that there are again twelve
apostles. The number twelve was incredibly important in
order to serve as a nucleus to represent the expression of the
people of God. So, they had to pick somebody. It was
essential that the new apostle had to have been with them as
a disciple and with them when Jesus was around on earth.
So they proposed two—Matthias and Joseph called
Barsabbas or Justus. They prayed a lot and then cast lots.
Apparently, these were holy lots and not unholy lots!
Matthias was chosen.
So, we might ask, what about the women who were there
with Jesus from the beginning? Who stayed at the foot of the
cross when the apostles fled? Who were the first to go to
Jesus’ grave and announce to the apostles that Jesus had
risen from among the dead? What about Mary and Martha?
What about Mary Magdalene? There doesn’t seem to be any

gender as part of the criteria for choosing the new apostle.
Still, it seems abundantly clear that the times in which the
choosing was taking place would not have permitted a
woman as an apostle, despite the fact that some people call
Mary Magdalene the apostle to the apostles for her having
run to tell them that Jesus had risen from the dead.
So, what has changed that does allow for a woman to be an
apostle, so to speak? Or anybody else for that matter? If God
is all-knowing, immutable, that is unchanging, how can this
be? Does it just have to do with our changing culture and
perspectives on things? Or is there something else at work
Next week we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, the
great feast of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the church in
order for us to continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus in
this world. It is the Holy Spirit that allows us to grow in
faith, to have our eyes opened a bit more, to change our
hearts as to what God wants of us. The prophet Ezekiel tells
us that God will take our hearts of stone and give us hearts
of flesh. The prophet Jeremiah says that God will write his
law on our hearts. It is only through prayer and the workings
of the Holy Spirit that we can grow and have what I am

calling a change of heart, that is a better understanding of
what God wants us of in our lives.
That doesn’t mean that we throw the baby out with the bath
water. You may have learned that the Episcopal church has
as a foundation the principles of the Bible, reason, and
church or Christian tradition. There is a fourth principle that
we also talk about, and that is our experience. All of these
elements taken-into-account with much prayer, discernment,
and the workings of the Holy Spirit can change our hearts,
change our way of looking at who God, is change the way
that we do things. People often ask is it the same God that
we see in the O.T. and in the N.T.? God doesn’t change, but
how the Holy Spirit changes our hearts, and allows us to
look at God does change. The Holy Spirit allows us to
discern what changes we have to make in our lives.
We have used the example of women now being able to be
leaders in the church as an illustration of this. But each of us
can point to moments in our lives where we have had
changes of heart, like my change of heart with Kip. Perhaps
the questions that we can contemplate this week is where
does the Holy Spirit ask us to change our hearts? Where
does the Holy Spirit ask us to change our hearts as a

community that follows Jesus? Where does the Holy Spirit
ask us to grow in our understanding of God, God’s love, and
perhaps how God asks us to change our hearts and our lives.