RCL Year B Easter 6
Acts 10:44–48, Psalm 98, I John 5:1–6, Saint John 15:9–17

Luke Samuel—I love the baby’s name. You would be pressed hard to find another name matching it for its sheer biblicality. But more than that, I love what God has in store for him.

You heard it in the First Lesson, written by his namesake, Luke the Physician, author of the Gospel bearing his name as well as the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. The gift of the Holy Spirit is “poured out even on the Gentiles.”[1] In the narrow world that is the cradle of Christianity, our forebears the Jews defined all people as belonging to one of two groups. Everyone is either a Jew or a Gentile. And the point Luke the Physician makes in this Lesson is that if a Gentile can receive the Holy Spirit, then, well, anyone can receive the Holy Spirit.

I hope you see that point immediately as good news. No one who wishes to belong is excluded, as Jews excluded Gentiles from their congregation through all their distinctive requirements touching upon diet, sacrifice, language, and ceremony. Luke Samuel is “in,” as much as anyone at any time has been “in.”

As if to give us the point a second time, Saint John in the Epistle tells us: “everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.”[2] Today we present Luke Samuel to the Lord, and we promise to do all in our power to support him in his life in Christ.[3] If Luke Samuel wants to be “in,” he shall be “in.” He is like all of us: if we choose to be “in,” we shall be “in.” Our name needs not to be Luke or Samuel. We can be either Jew or Gentile. The requirement is only that we use our will, our faculty to decide, to be born of God. Within us, within each of us, there lies an inviolable and individual choice that we can exercise to be Christ’s own forever.

But wasn’t it Samuel, sleeping before the ark of the covenant, who said, when God called him, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”[4] And is it not in your power and my power to say that very thing to the Lord every hour of every day?

[1] Acts 10:45.

[2] I John 5:1.

[3] The Book of Common Prayer, page 303.

[4] I Samuel 3:10.